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News

UK IT users demonstrate lack of data protection awareness

The Federation Against Software Theft : 14 December, 2009  (Technical Article)
The Federation Against Software Theft comments on the recent BCS finding that a mere 20% of citizens in the UK have any idea about how to protect their online data despite the proliferation of on-line shopping and the popularity of social networking in the country
A recent report by the British Computing Society that only 20 percent of UK residents know how to protect their data online is no surprise according to John Lovelock, chief executive of the Federation Against Software Theft and Investors in Software (FAST IiS).

Lovelock believes user inexperience causes a wealth of potential computing problems: "It's a sad fact that while information technology plays such an essential role in most peoples' offices and homes, users remain oblivious to best practices to protect themselves and their organisations from criminals, malware as well as potential legal issues resulting from software licence management."

FAST IiS is the not-for-profit organisation that represents the UK software industry and encourages best practices in software use. Industry research has found that business use of unlicensed software during 2008 remains high in the UK at 27 percent or at a loss of £1.49 billion to the industry and the national economy.

"Many computer users know just enough to get by and don't give a second thought to installing programs they use at work on home PCs, or vice versa. A large part of the problem is simple ignorance and people not reading the fine print when they install something, as most people don't, or downloading from an illegal filesharing website because it's thought of as 'easier' and anonymous".

User inexperience therefore not only costs home users their bank details and online privacy, it can also cost them their jobs and their company's reputation when this attitude is taken into the workplace.

Lovelock adds: "It boils down to the fact that the public aren't savvy enough to keep hold of their data, nor savvy enough to always use software legitimately and from legitimate sources, according to the piracy figures. Computing has evolved faster than our ability to mange it in some respects. FAST IiS recommends business train staff, implement IT policies and procedures, ensure that staff understand them fully and enforce transgression of them. Software asset management tools will also take the time out of ensuring organisations don't over or under purchase the amount of software licences they require."


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