The importance of data for the UK economy – and the need to protect it effectively – is highlighted in a report published by the government, which shows that the vast majority of businesses collect and use data.

Of the 4,500 companies surveyed, 81% said they process digitized personal data, digitized non-personal data, or both, with the use of such information increasing by 100% as the business grows.

About three-quarters of businesses said they collect data not from employees but from other sources, and 93% said information comes from people who have the information, such as when a new customer is registered.

It turned out that non-personal data, such as information on sales or inventory levels, were common, and about half of the respondents indicated that they generated such data.

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A report compiled on behalf of the government by market research firm IFF Research found that data use has become more common in recent years and that most businesses have found its use useful.

“About half of businesses that use digital data say they have become more accessible over the past 10 years,” the report said. “We asked these specific businesses about the benefits it gave them, and about half said it allowed them to innovate and perform new functions. Even more, about 60%, said it had led to efficiency gains. ”

Any personal data collected, processed or used by businesses is subject to the requirements of the UK Data Protection Act 2018, the enforcement of which is monitored by the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Since the data protection regime was revised in 2018, the ICO has been given the right to impose much higher fines on organizations that violate the rules. Prior to the new legislation, the largest financial fine available for supervision was a flat sum of £ 500,000.

The DPA provides for fines of up to £ 18 million or 4% of the organization’s global turnover, whichever is greater. In 2020, ICO suffered from British Airways and the Marriott Hotel respectively fines of £ 20 million and £ 18.4 million for failing to protect their customers ’data – and even these huge fines were significantly reduced compared to the original proposed fines of 183 million pounds and 99 million pounds The reduction in fines was due, in particular, to the impact of the pandemic on the business of the two firms under consideration.

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