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IT Execs: Our Breaches Are None of Your Business

More than 60% don't even want to tell the cops, much less the public

There's a lot of talk about nationwide breach disclosure laws, both in the U.S. and overseas. But if you ask the average IT executive, disclosing breaches is a bad idea.

In a study published late last week by British content-filtering vendor Clearswift, IT decisionmakers made it clear that they think security breaches should only be disclosed to those who really need to know.

Eighty-seven percent of IT decision-makers don’t believe the general public should be informed if a data breach occurs, according to the study. More than half (61 percent) didn’t think the police should be informed, either.

Surprisingly, 60 percent of the 398 IT decision-makers polled in the U.K. were unaware of the possible introduction of data breach notification legislation in that country. When informed, half (51 percent) were in favor of such legislation. Likewise, 59 percent of IT managers didn’t know of plans to make the negligent loss of personal information a criminal offense, but 54 percent were in favor.

“Given the recent debate around possible data breach legislation, it is surprising to see the lack of awareness on the subject,” said Stephen Millard, vice president of strategy at Clearswift. “This Clearswift research shows that when faced with the prospect of having to air some dirty laundry in public, companies are not confident they will emerge in a positive light."

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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