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UK consumers still concerned about personal data security

Most UK consumers are still concerned about the security of their personal data, indicating that organisations need to do more to gain consumer trust, such as implementing biometric controls

Just over a year after the compliance deadline for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), 75% of UK consumers are concerned about the security of personal data shared with organisations, a survey shows.

More than half (59%) of the 1,000 respondents said they would feel more secure if their personal data was protected by their fingerprint for identification, according to the poll by fingerprint identification technology firm IDEX Biometrics.

This figure rose to 75% among respondents born before 1946, showing how accepted this form of biometric identification has become, regardless of the user’s age, the research report said.

In addition, just over half (53%) of respondents believe fingerprint authentication is the most convenient way of proving their identity today.

According to the company, biometric systems are an effective means to address data security concerns because they do not require easily breached passcodes or passwords.

The research report said recent advances in applying fingerprint biometric sensors to smart cards and devices mean authentication credentials are held only on the card itself, eliminating the need to store such data in central databases that could be vulnerable to hackers.

The survey also found that UK consumers’ security concerns increase when companies ask for personal and sensitive information that could help a criminal steal individual identities. For instance, nearly two-thirds (63%) of consumers said they are most concerned about potential identity theft when they share their mother’s maiden name. Around half are worried when they hand over their home address (53%) and their mobile phone number (50%).

“Consumers are wary of the potential dangers of sharing their personal information with companies, and they are demanding more secure means of authentication to prove their identity and minimise the risk of identity theft,” said David Orme, senior vice-president at IDEX Biometrics.

“It is time the benefits of biometrics and fingerprint smart cards are more widely recognised and implemented because this will go a long way to regaining consumer confidence in the security of their personal data,” he said.

According to Orme, biometric technology no longer needs to be considered as technology of the future because recent advancements mean thin sensors can be applied to smart cards to authenticate an individual’s identity.

“Organisations should, and can, act now to provide consumers with the confidence they seek that their data is safe when shared,” he said.

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