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State and federal government departments are third most trusted organisations in Australian attitudes to privacy survey

Source: Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey 2017 Inforgraphic

The Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim released the 2017 Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey (ACAPS) during the ongoing Privacy Awareness Week.

Previous studies were conducted in 2013, 2007 and 2001. In the current survey, 800 surveys were sourced from a dual-frame sample frame of mobile and fixed-line phone numbers and 1,000 surveys sourced from an opt-in online panel..

Around 69% of respondents expressed concerns about the privacy of their personal information when using the Internet. The four most often mentioned areas of concern were online services, including social media sites ( 32%), ID fraud and theft (19%), data security breaches (17%) and risks to financial data (12%).

Participants in the survey were most reluctant to provide financial details (mentioned by 42%), address (24%), date of birth (14%) and phone numbers (13%).

The community was asked about the trustworthiness of 14 different types of organisations. The highest levels of trust were recorded for health service providers (79%), financial institutions (59%) and state and federal government departments (both 58%). The sectors with the lowest levels of trust were social media (12%) and e-commerce (19%).

New questions in the survey revealed that 46% of Australians were comfortable with government agencies using their personal details for research or policy-making purposes, 40% were not and the balance were still unsure. Moreover, 34% of the community was comfortable with the government sharing their personal information with other government agencies. However, only one in ten was comfortable with businesses sharing their information with other organisations.

Only one in a hundred (1%) do not mind receiving unsolicited marketing information from organisations they had not dealt with before.

Similar to 2013, only a third of Australians were likely to trade personal information for benefits. Around 33% would do it for rewards and benefits, 32% would do so for better customer service and 20% would do so for the chance to win a prize.

Nearly three in ten (28%) respondents said they had encountered a problem with the way their information had been handled in the previous year. Only 37% knew that they can request access to their personal information that is held by government agencies or businesses.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) fielded 2,128 complaints from the public in 2015–16 and 11,759 telephone queries of which the majority (10,370) related to the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).

When asked, nearly half (47%) of the respondents said they are aware of the Privacy Commissioner. But only 7% said that they would report misuse of information to a Privacy Commissioner. Nearly half (47%) were unable to nominate an agency to make such a report to, and the most likely organisation would be the police (12%).

2017-Australian-Community-Attitudes-to-Privacy-Survey-2

Source: Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey 2017 Inforgraphic

Commissioner Pilgrim said, “‘It’s encouraging to see that Australians are alert to privacy risks. But we need to convert awareness into action, and use the options already available to us to protect our personal information. ‘While 61 per cent of us check website security, our results found that over 65 per cent of Australians do not read privacy policies, and half do not regularly adjust privacy settings on social media, or clear their browsing history.”

Read the Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey report here.

Read the press release here

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