The ICO claims that 2013 will be the year that the importance of good data handling will finally be realised.
Speaking yesterday at the launch of its annual report, information commissioner Christopher Graham said that 2013 will be the year that organisations realise the commercial imperative of handling customer data properly, and how this affects users' relationships with businesses.
In a year where the ICO saw a 45 per cent increase in cases looked at by its civil enforcement team to 1,300 and a total of 23 organisations receiving monetary penalties totalling £2.6 million, the ICO's own research found that 97 per cent were concerned that organisations would pass or sell-on their personal details. However, only ten per cent of businesses were aware of the legal limitations of how they could use customer's personal data.
Information commissioner Christopher Graham said: “Education and empowerment have been two of the key areas we've focused on in the past 12 months. That work is having real benefits: consumers' awareness of their rights remains strong, and that is empowering people to demand more in return for their data.
“The result is consumers expecting organisations to handle their personal data in a proper way, and in a legal way. Businesses that don't meet that basic requirement are going to quickly find themselves losing customers.
“I think 2013 is the year that organisations will realise the commercial imperative of properly handling customer data. The stats we've seen about public concern around personal data show that, as does a company the size of Microsoft choosing privacy as a theme of a national advertising campaign.
“The message to business is simple: consumers understand the value of their personal data, and they expect you to too.”