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Six in ten UK punters fear what gov will do with private data

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Research sponsored by Symantec reveals that six out of ten UK citizens do not believe their data is safe with government departments.

Bearing in mind the endless stream of data losses from the British government in recent weeks, this figure is really quite low. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs lost private details on 25m people in November.

Since then we've heard HMRC lost data in six previous cases since 2003, the DVLA lost 6,000 drivers' details and sent letters containing private information to the wrong addresses. The Information Commissioner said several departments had 'fessed up to other losses.

Yesterday Sefton PTC said it had wrongly sent out details on all its staff to four companies - which it refused to name on confidentiality grounds.

Corporations do not fare much better in the survey - 61 per cent of respondents do not trust companies with their personal data. Last week a Florida man admitted stealing 8.4m customer records and selling them on.

Many people believe more legislation would help - some 46 per cent believed existing legislation to "keep individuals informed about the disclosure or loss of their personal data is inadequate".

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas has said his department needs more money and legal powers to properly protect our data.

Researchers from Ipsos/MORI spoke to 1,000 people by 'phone between 28 and 29 November. ®

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