Did you read this far? Congratulations, you are among the small number of Australians who actually bother to their privacy policies, according to a new survey. But that doesn’t mean Australians aren’t deeply concerned about what’s being done to their data.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has released their 2020 Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy survey. It’s the first time the survey has been done since 2017.
Australia’s Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angele Falk said that this year’s results show that we’re more concerned than ever about exactly what’s happening to our information.
“Our survey shows data privacy is a significant concern for Australians, particularly as the digital environment and data practices evolve rapidly. The community sees identity theft and fraud, and data breaches and security, as the biggest privacy risks we face today,” she said.
How concerned are Australians about their privacy?
The biggest takeaway from the results is privacy is a major concern for 70% of Australians. And while that varies by age (with younger people being the least likely to be concerned by a small margin), nearly two-thirds of all age groups are say it is a major concern.
reading the @OAICgov's findings from the 2020 survey on attitudes towards privacy. young people are more likely to adjust settings on social media, use ad blockers, VPNs + privacy-focused search engines. can we stop saying young people don't care about privacy yet?
— Samantha Floreani (@samfloreani) September 24, 2020
Meanwhile, more than four in five Australians think it’s “misuse for an organisation to ask for information that doesn’t seem relevant”, and that’s up 7% from the last survey.
And it follows that many Australians want to be able to do something about the data that companies already have. 84% of Australians think they should have the right to ask a business to delete their personal information.
Generally, Australia’s trust in institutions’ ability to handle their personal information has fallen —trust in companies dropped by 13% and trust in the government, 14%.
Despite that, 83% of Australians want the government to do more to do more to protect their data.
The survey comes at an important time: the Office is reviewing Australia’s Privacy Act and will use this information to guide their overhaul. And with many Australians calling for greater privacy protections, the review couldn’t come at a better time.