More than half of Irish people are worried about firms leaking their personal data but fewer than half are aware of their rights surrounding data protection, a report has found.
Research commissioned by security company Netwatch found almost six out of 10 worry about a data breach, as well as concerns about how their data is handles by companies.
The survey of 1,000 people also found that just two out of five understand their rights when it comes to how businesses handle their data.
Fewer than a quarter are aware of how long businesses are authorised to retain CCTV footage, and only a quarter know how to request access to CCTV footage in which they have been filmed.
Netwatch chief executive David Walsh said: “The results are not altogether surprising given the current climate of regular data breaches. Irish people are extremely worried about how secure their data is.
“Additionally, Irish people may not fully understand their own rights when it comes to data protection, particularly with CCTV.”
He said Irish businesses had to ensure that they are compliant with EU regulations by keeping customers fully informed.
“They can do this by making sure that CCTV usage is fully signposted, ensuring that they are retaining data for the correct amount of time, and allowing access to personal data when requested,” he said.
The Data Protection Act says data retained must be justified and not excessive — security for a business would be acceptable but filming employees constantly would generally fall below the threshold.
The survey also found that fewer than a quarter understand what the incoming general data protection regulation is.
The regulation, which will be introduced next May, is designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe and to protect citizens’ data privacy.
Unlike a directive which is brought in over time, the regulation will be implemented on day one.
It not only applies to organisations within the EU but also to firms that do business inside member states.
If companies fail to comply with the regulation, they can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20m.