Poll shows public fears on data sharing

Three quarters of British people view strong data security as the most important feature of government’s online services, according to a survey carried out by YouGov for Deloitte, and nearly one fifth of people avoid using digital services because they don’t want to share data online.

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By Suzannah.Brecknell

30 Apr 2014

The survey of 5,180 people also found relatively low levels of trust in government’s ability to protect data. It asked respondents what they thought would happen if government departments shared data: 33% believed data would be misused, while just 18% thought services would be improved. 

Joel Bellman, a director of government and public sector at Deloitte, suggested that although “government obviously takes security seriously,” the public perception “is that government is not good with data, and is not a trustworthy place for citizens to put their data.” 

He suggested that this is due to negative press coverage about data security, adding that government could counter this by “talking more about its security” – emulating financial services institutions which increasingly use security as a marketing tool.

A report by Deloitte also suggested that government could offer specific guarantees of priority redress for errors that arise due to mishandled online services, as a way to encourage more people to use them – a similar approach to the buyer protection guarantees offered by online retailers such as eBay.

The survey found that 88% of people are open to using online services, and showed significant gaps between people’s historic use of online services and the things they would like to access digitally. For example, just 19% have registered for payments online, but 47% would like to do so in the future; while 61% of respondents would like to apply for permits and licences online, but just 39% have done so in the past.

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