Half of UK citizens want tighter data regulations

Over 50% of UK citizens believe the gathering and use of personal data should be subject to more stringent government oversight, according to Fujitsu

Over half of UK citizens think the gathering and use of personal data by the public and private sectors should be the subject of stricter government regulation, while public sector leaders feel all at sea when it comes to satisfying citizen expectations, according to a report compiled by Fujitsu.

In its Driving a trusted future report, Fujitsu claimed that while Britons are increasingly demanding consumer-style experiences in their engagements with organisations, they have serious concerns around sharing their personal data, lack trust in how organisations use this data, and are doubtful about the reliability of technology.

Meanwhile, 26% of public sector leaders surveyed said they had not felt the benefit of digital transformation despite heavy investments, 67% felt their organisation would never be able to fully satisfy public expectations, and 48% felt they were under too much pressure to “drive society forward” in a positive manner.

Representatives of other industries voiced similar fears, but overall, said Fujitsu, it was the public sector that seemed to show the greatest need to step back, assess its digital progress, and seek out ways to improve its stance around data use and protection.

Fujitsu’s client managing director of central and devolved government, Patrick Stephenson, said: “The rapid technological change in the UK is clearly having a profound impact on citizens, the public sector and the relationship between them. What we need to ask ourselves is ‘how can the public sector satisfy citizens’ expectations?’

“For this to happen, the public sector needs to radically change the way it engages with citizens and use data to build trust, which, as we know, is so easily lost in a digital world.”

“To satisfy citizens’ expectations, the public sector needs to radically change the way it engages with citizens and use data to build trust”
Patrick Stephenson, Fujitsu

Striking a more positive note, public sector IT leaders tended to feel more positive about the changes their organisations were likely to experience, and three in five said innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), automation and mobility had already affected them for the better.

Fujitsu said it was clear that public sector leaders had a strong sense of purpose and felt a duty to impact citizens positively.

“The public needs to feel empowered and in control when it comes to their own data and how they choose to share it,” said Stephenson. “We have already seen progress with the government taking responsibility for regulating the use of personal data since the introduction of the GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation], but there’s still a way to go.

Allowing citizens control of their own data is one way to build trust and help the public sector to modernise, digitise and begin to offer the connected experiences that citizens are demanding,” he added.

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