Almost half of British students 'vulnerable to identity theft'

Summary:How important is data to British students? Clearly not enough, according to a poll which showed nearly half were worried about their post-Facebook job prospects.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK's data protection agency, says that 42 percent of the 500 university students surveyed are worried that their online postings could leave them struggling to find work.

The ICO is concerned that many are not taking adequate steps to protect themselves from identity theft whilst using social media services without changing public privacy settings, as well as registering for site content that may sell on personal details and information to advertisers.

For example, one in three (33%) students have changed address whilst at university and not had their important post redirected to their new address. Over three-quarters (76%) have not checked their credit rating in the past year, with two-thirds (66%) saying they had never checked -- which could be taken advantage of by rogue application senders.

Students are a vulnerable group for identity theft; particularly as a new 'candidate' to the real world, with many not having learned the very basics of data protection, or even down to household chores and items.

This poll comes only a week after Fellowes revealed that four million Britons -- around 7 percent of the population -- has fallen victim to identity theft.

Having said that, more does need to be done in relation to teaching particularly the younger generations about data protection and how core it is to our very being.

Only last week, for a routine eye appointment to sort out my glasses, I was asked my date of birth. My gym also wants a face-photo as part of their 'tracking system' for membership. On both counts I refused, after on the two occasions I was not given a satisfactory reason as to why it was necessary to hand over this personal data.

Our data is precious to us, and many simply do not value it as much as clearly others do -- particularly private enterprise and businesses. Advertisers are without doubt the most data-hungry services we have, besides governmental intelligence agencies.

In a previous post, I've discussed whether data protection should be taught in schools. It should, without a doubt. How the subject is taught, however, is laden with obstacles in an ever increasingly technologically driven world.

Related:

Topics: Data Centers, Data Management, Security, Storage

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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