ICO campaign helps organisations educate the public on data

The ICO has announced a major new public awareness campaign which will seek to improve people’s trust and confidence in how organisations handle their personal information

Chloe Green | 10th Apr 18
ICO Your Data Matters

The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) launched its new ‘Your Data Matters’ public awareness campaign. Announced at its 11th annual conference yesterday, the campaign is aimed at increasing the public’s trust and confidence in how their data is used and made available.

The ‘Your Data Matters’ campaign provides organisations with ‘off the shelf’ material to share across their communications channels in the run up to GDPR becoming law on the 25th May.

The package of communications will include emails, adverts, leaflets social media messaging and videos, and will be available to download over the coming weeks.

They will aim to deliver consistent educational messages that will help individuals understand the changing data protection environment in a practical and straightforward way – messages that organisations, regardless of their sector or size, can refer to, link to or repeat to complement their own customer and staff communications.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in her keynote speech at the ICO’s 11 annual conference:

“We’ve taken a collaborative approach inviting a range of businesses and organisations – public and private sector – to work with us to develop baseline educational messages about data protection reform for UK citizens. These are messages that will help raise awareness but also, I hope, increase trust in our data driven world.”

With GDPR looming, organisations are under pressure to conform to the new regulations and prove to a cynical public that they are responsible data handlers. Research from the ICO carried out last August showed that only one fifth of the UK public (20%) have trust and confidence in companies and organisations storing their personal information, while less than one in ten (8%) of UK adults say they have a good understanding of how their personal data is made available to third parties and the public.

Just recently, public trust in data handling faces a crisis in the wake of Facebook’s high profile data leak. Denham went on to say how recent events have demonstrated that data protection and privacy are now more important to the UK public than ever before.

“It has been hard to miss the exposé of Cambridge Analytica’s alleged use of personal data in election campaigns, including information gathered from Facebook,” she said. “The dramatic revelations of the last few weeks can be seen as a game changer in data protection. Suddenly, everyone is paying attention.”

Denham added: “The proper use of personal data can achieve remarkable things. It can improve, ease and enrich our lives. Now, more than ever, the role of data protection practitioner is not just as a guardian of privacy but as an ambassador for the appropriate use of personal data in line with the law.”