UK government owns too much of citizens' data

A survey by the Chartered Institute for IT (the British Computer Society) has shown that a majority of its members think that the UK government has more data on its citizens than is necessary.

And only 17 percent of the members questioned believed that citizens were adequately protected by the law from state intrusion.

Sixty one percent believe that the state has too much information on Her Majesty’s subjects while the government is also not nearly open enough.

Citizens are too apathetic or know too little about their data rights to make any difference in the forthcoming UK General Election. Only 41 percent believed that people knew the value of their own personal data, while only 10 percent think the population has an inkling about their data rights.

Two thirds believe that the balance between data rights and the state is unsatisfactory.

The president of the Chartered Institute for IT said the Digital Economy Bill, currently being debated in the House of Commons, will narrow down the opportunity of individuals. She said: “A hastily rushed through form of the Digital Economy Bill would only increase digital exclusion and harm those most in need of and most positively affected by Internet acces and capability. The research…shows that the membership of the Institute wants the government to ensure that more information is freely available, and not less.”

438 members of the Institute were surveyed and the UK was ranked fourth after the Australia, the rest of the European Union and and the USA in perceived openness.