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More and more people have complained about potential breaches of their personal privacy online, according to a report from the Information Commissioner.

Last year, 8,875 members of the public complained about alleged breaches of data protection rules - an increase of around a third on the previous year.

Ten years ago, the Information Commission received just 1,747 complaints.

The increase has been blamed on the rise of the Internet, electronic services and computerised storage of information turning data protection and privacy into a hot topic.

According to research, 96 per cent of people rate their rights to personal privacy as "important" or "very important".

And the Information Commissioner reports that big companies are beginning to take stock of public opinion.

Commenting on Intel's decision to place identification numbers on PIII processors enabling users to be tracked online, Elizabeth France, Information Commissioner, said: "A number of major companies, such as Intel, have experienced the severe market and publicity impact of failing to take account of privacy issues and have now taken very positive steps to reconstruct their policies and working methods."

She continued: "Furthermore extensive media interest shows that the [Data Protection] Act provides a set of rights which are of increasing value in modern society," she said.

The report covers a number of areas including the monitoring of e-mails and Net access at work, cyber crime and the migration of Government services online. ®

Related Link

Information Commissioner Annual Report 2001

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