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U.K. residents don't trust their government in handling their data

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October 6, 2016

On any given day, a new survey reveals that British citizens have almost no faith in their government's ability to securely handle their private data.

This is according to a wide-ranging report which echoes various findings by the U.K. National Audit Office.

Overall, about 21.8 percent believed that the British government has appropriate means to reduce or stop cyber-attacks and correctly identity security breaches, according to 1,500 citizens polled by YouGov on behalf of security firm Covata.

About 36.4 percent said they were confident that their government would keep their personal data secure, while 31.9 percent believed that various departments would not be able to share that information securely between public sector bodies.

The survey's findings come as the U.K. government intends to increase the ease with which the public sector can access citizen data via the new 2016 Digital Economy Bill.

But about 50.8 percent said it would be easier to use online government services if the various departments could share more information on any given day.

However, a recent report by the National Audit Office slammed Whitehall for its poor security practices.

It found that the Cabinet Office is failing to effectively coordinate the government departments' efforts to protect personal data.

It reported that a little over 8,920 various data security breaches in the seventeen largest government departments in 2014/15 were attacked in numerous levels.

Some 54.2 percent named security as the number one priority for moving more government services online, the survey indicates.

In an open letter to the government, Covata wrote-- ``At the very least, all sensitive information should be encrypted by default. Stricter controls must be in place to guarantee that only authorized personnel can access the data. Who attempts to access which files should also be constantly monitored to ensure no security breaches of protocol. Various departments should make it impossible for files to be shared by unauthorized channels, such as consumer-grade file sharing or cloud-based platforms.``

Source: The U.K. National Audit Office.

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