'The Facebook Generation' is too Careless With Technology

by Hannah Punitha on Oct 31 2008 5:13 PM

"Facebook generation" is too careless with technology and personal information held on databases, says a British Information watchdog.

Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, said that with more and more databases being created, the risk of data breach is also increasing.

He said that the number of data losses reported to his office has almost doubled in the past six months.

As many as 177 cases were reported between April and November this year, compared to 100 cases earlier.

Eighty of the 277 breaches were by private sector organisations, 75 NHS and other health bodies, 28 by central government, 26 by local authorities and 47 by other public sector organisations.

"It is alarming that despite high profile data losses, the threat of enforcement action, a plethora of reports on data handling and clear guidance of the Information Commissioners Office, the flow of data breaches and sloppy information handling continues," Times Online quoted Thomas, as saying.

"A lot of organisations are peopled by the Facebook generation. They tend to be careless with technology and personal information and have not been disciplined in the fact that things can go wrong the damage data loss", he added.

He said data losses had lead to fake credit card transactions, witnesses at risk of intimidation or physical harm, offenders at risk from vigilantes, fake applications for tax credits, falsified Land Registry records and mortgage fraud.

Thomas urges company bosses to take full responsibility for data protection safeguards particularly when data loss can cause serious damage to the reputation of organisations.

"The more databases that are set up and the more information exchanged from one place to another, the greater the risk of things going wrong," he said.

The more you centralise data collection, the greater the risk of multiple records going missing or wrong decisions about real people being made," he added.

"Put simply, holding huge collections of personal data brings significant risks," he added.