UK consumers expect to be told of security breaches immediately, and are prepared to vote with their feet if not satisfied with security, according to new research. An Ipsos MORI poll found 82 per cent of people expect to be notified immediately in the event of a data breach, but more than half (53 per cent) would take their custom elsewhere in the event of such a data loss. Only five per cent of the UK public surveyed are not worried about potential data loss.

Secerno, which commissioned the MORI poll, thinks that only government action will be sufficient to rebuild customer confidence, pointing to the lack of incentive for companies to disclose breaches. The company contrasts the existence of US laws to ensure data breaches are disclosed and the lack of these in the UK and EU. The forthcoming European Data Protection Act would fit the bill, but is not expected to be ratified until 2012. Paul Davie, Secerno's chief executive (pictured) said: "It's only a matter of time before legislation is brought in - it's the only sure route to make all businesses take notice."

The research comes after a series of large-scale breaches in the UK, with Nationwide and TK Maxx (and its US parent) being the worst offenders, losing the details of 11 million and 45.6 million customers respectively. Last month, building society Halifax lost details for 13,000 mortgage customers after a briefcase including customer account details was stolen from an employee's car.