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Over 9m UK mobile phone subscribers could demand to see their data when GDPR lands

Tyrone Stewart

GDPR data centreAs many as 9.58m UK mobile phone subscribers may submit a Subject Access Request (SAR) to their network provider once the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is put into force in May 2018.

A SAR is used when an individual wants to see a copy of all the information an organisation holds about them, and with the implementation of GDPR these organisations will be forced to provide this information without resistance.

According to a survey of 1028 adults, conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of enterprise data software company Exonar, 70 per cent of the general public have no idea about the implementation of GDPR. However, once the changes were explained to them, 57 per cent of respondents said they would raise a SAR – 11 per cent of which said they would target their mobile network provider.

“Companies often ask us how they can predict how many SARs they will receive. It’s an impossible task as so much of it will come down to consumer awareness,” said Julie Evans, COO at Exonar. “At the moment all communication efforts from the ICO are focused on getting companies ready for the GDPR, but come next Spring, we expect the focus to change as they start to inform the general public about the changes.

“If the ICO succeeds in raising consumer awareness then, as this research shows, the floodgates will open. Businesses really do need to make the most of the remaining months to get their data house in order.”

Financial services providers came out on top of the sectors that would face the most requests with 33 per cent saying they would reach out to their bank, 16 per cent their credit card provider, eight per cent their insurance company, and five per cent their loan company.

Other targets for requests included social media companies at 16 per cent, utilities at eight per cent, and retailers at five per cent – while nine per cent said would ask their current employer and four per cent their ex-employer.

The research also found that 27 per cent of people are concerned their data could be sold, and a further 27 per cent worried about hacking. 18 per cent of respondents stated they were shocked to know how much information a company could hold on them – when told it could run into hundreds of pages.

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