Trust in Whitehall falls to a new low

Public confidence in the government's ability to protect personal information has fallen to a new low in the wake of a series of damaging data scandals and growing fears of a Big Brother state. Even the most trusted institutions – GPs and police forces – have experienced a decline, according to a report into data security. The poorest performer was central government with only one in five people trusting Whitehall to protect the security and confidentiality of personal data and details. Confidence levels have slumped across the board, according to the report by the security firm DQM, which surveyed 2,000 people last month. Despite this downturn, commercial organisations do not fare too badly, with around half the country happy about data security standards at their banks and building societies, two fifths of the population trusting travel companies and credit card issuers, and around a third comfortable with data security at hotels and insurance firms. Surprisingly, around 30 per cent of adults trust e-Commerce companies and loyalty schemes to keep their personal data secure, whereas mobile phone companies and utility firms score relatively low, trusted by just 28 per cent and 27 per cent respectively

By far the worst performers, however, were local authorities (23 per cent) and central government departments (19 per cent). Twice as many people trust their credit card provider than trust a government department.