Two-thirds of workers in the retail sector would not report a serious data protection breach to their employer, if they thought it would get one of their colleagues into trouble, new research has revealed.

Despite the risk to their employer of criminal proceedings and heavy fines, 65% of retail workers said they would keep quiet about such matters, according to the study from telecoms and IT firm Daisy Group.

When asked if data security was an important issue for their company, 22% of retail employees said they did not know.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults, which was carried out by One Poll, did find there was a certain diligence when it came to using customer contact details. Some 56% of respondents said they would not send out details to a third party on request and one in five said they would check with their manager before doing so, while 4% said they would send the details out without query.

Graham Harris, cloud specialist at Daisy Group, explained: "When it comes to data security, all too often businesses focus purely on IT processes and forget about the staff that will be using them.

"As our research identified, human error is one of, if not the most likely source for data security issues, and fear of reprisal is a powerful force."

Daisy Group also found that one in ten retail workers had disabled the password protection features on work laptops, mobiles, or tablet devices because they found them annoying. Of those who did have password protection, 47% said they did not change their passwords regularly, and 29% admitted their password was very simple and would be easy to guess.

In other security-related news, information services group Experian reported that London is the UK's identity theft capital, showing significantly higher rates of this particular crime than anywhere else in the UK.

The statistics, which are based on the number of fraudulent applications across financial products such as current accounts, loans, mortgages, savings accounts and credit cards, show that both inner and outer London the most targeted areas in the Uk last year. Outer London topped the regional list with 34 cases of identity fraud for every 10,000 adults. 

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Daisy Group