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Data Protection Commission

Press Release
12 August 2008

Results of Data Protection Public Awareness Survey published

The Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes today published the results of a data protection public awareness survey carried out during April 2008 by Lansdowne Market research on behalf of his Office.  Similar research was conducted in 2005, 2002 and 1997.

A key finding from the survey of 1,000 respondents aged 15+ was that nearly two thirds believed they have personally experienced an invasion of their privacy of their personal information.  Encouragingly, people continue to place a high value on privacy of their personal information, with 84% of the population rating privacy as 'very important' to them. Medical records, financial history, credit card details, Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) and Garda record are the top matters that the public are concerned about keeping private.

The findings also confirm the concern felt by citizens in relation to how their personal information is stored by the public and private sectors with only approx half of respondents expressing themselves confident in this respect.

The survey also found high levels of concern among internet users regarding their personal information on the internet with 63% of those surveyed expressing concern about internet logs being retained and monitored. Of note also, 11% of respondents stated they had "information, images or footage" of themselves posted on the internet without their consent. This figure increased to 1 in 4 for respondents drawn from the Dublin area.

When announcing the survey results, the Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, indicated "the survey results again demonstrate the importance attached by Irish citizens to the privacy of their personal details.  The results of the survey will be a key driver for my Office in attempting to further increase awareness of data protection amongst the public and those entities holding our personal data."


Further Information

The questionnaire was included in the Lansdowne omnibus survey in April 2008 where a sample of 1,000 respondents aged 15+ were interviewed. The survey's key findings are attached to the press release.  These together with the full report are available on the Commissioner's website www.dataprotection.ie.

Contact: Lisa McGann  057 868 4800