Companies hoping to innovate with people's personal information need to first address a 'significant deficit of trust' among British adults, the ICO's deputy commissioner has warned.

Research from the Information Commissioner's Office found that only a fifth (20 per cent) of UK citizens have trust and confidence in companies and organisations storing their personal information.

As personal information becomes the currency by which society does business, deputy commissioner Steve Wood said firms need to start making people’s data protection rights a priority.

"Putting data protection at the centre of digital businesses strategies is the key to improving trust and digital growth," he added.

"Changes to data protection legislation, which include the introduction of the GDPR, offer organisations an opportunity to re-engage with their customers about data.

“The new laws require organisations to be more accountable for data protection and this is a real commitment to putting the consumer at the heart of business.”

The ICO survey also found that only one in ten British adults have a good understanding of how their personal data is used and 12 per cent say they have trust and confidence in social messaging platforms storing and using their personal information.

On the flip side, more than 60 per cent said they trust the NHS or local GP to store and use their personal data while more than half (53 per cent) say the same of the police.

“We want to see improvements in these figures,” Wood added. “It’s time for organisations to start building the UK public’s trust and confidence in how data is used and made available.

“By now organisations should be aware of the changes to data protection law next May. It’s no longer acceptable to see the law as a box ticking exercise. Organisations will need to be accountable, to their customers and to the regulator.”