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Britain trusts banks more than employers and NHS with personal data

UK expects less from government in providing online security than European neighbours.

By Jimmy Nicholls

British people trust financial institutions more with their personal data than they do their employers, despite years of criticism for banks following the financial crash in 2009.

A report commissioned by IT firm Unisys that asked the British public which three organisations they trusted most with their data led to 53% choosing the financial sector, with half selecting the NHS and 44% their employers.

Gerhard Knecht, head of global security services at Unisys, said: "I don’t think it’s too much of a surprise that banks are trusted, it’s traditionally the case," Knecht said. "The surprise should be why are more people not trusting banks. After all, the banks are looking after money for people."

Only a quarter of people selected private companies as firms they would trust most with their personal data, while a third chose central government and 16% chose service providers such as Sky or BT. One in seven were unsatisfied that any of the sectors listed could ensure their data was secure.

The report revealed that data security was a worry for the British, with half seriously concerned with identity theft. On the other hand 70% were mostly or entirely convinced by the security of shopping or banking online.

Comparing Britain to other areas of Europe, Knecht noted that Britain expects less from the government in providing security, a contrast to countries such as Germany.

"The UK is quite different to a certain extent. National security is less of an an issue in the UK whereas it’s a big issue in France," Knecht said. "We need to believe that security on the internet is something that can be trusted."

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