Shocking data privacy abuse by UK businesses

UK businesses are giving out highly personal and confidential details about their customers to third parties in a bid to boost sales reveals a new survey by StrongMail of 900 UK data protection and marketing professionals.

Despite being amongst the three quarters of UK firms who claim to limit the types of personal information they share with third-parties for marketing purposes, the study shows that some are prepared to give out the type of personal data that would horrify many civil liberty and data privacy groups.

  • Seven percent disclose customers’ sexual orientation;
  • One in ten (10%) disclose customers’ religious beliefs;
  • One in seven (14%) share details on political affiliation or activism (14%);
  • One in twenty (5%) give details of ethnic background;
  • A further 19 percent, one in five, give out customer credit card details.

The survey found that the loss or theft of private and confidential data is endemic amongst UK firms with almost two-thirds (61 percent) of marketing professionals experiencing loss or theft of consumer information over the past 24 months. In 90 percent cases the loss or theft went unreported since they felt that they were either not required to, or were unsure whether they had to, report the incident to the affected customer.

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