Study: Australians say privacy is a priority


October 16, 2013

Privacy is quickly becoming one of the biggest issues among Australian consumers, who are increasingly asking more of organisations to protect their personal information and other sensitive data.

According to the Australian Information Commissioner’s 2013 Community Attitudes to Privacy survey, about 48 per cent of Australian believe that services that are based on the internet, including online shopping and using social media sites, leave them the most exposed to security risks.

Most agreed that social media use came with the biggest privacy invasion risks, with only 9 per cent of survey respondents saying they believe social networking sites have appropriate privacy measures in place.

The sentiment noted in the report is nothing new, though. Australian Information Commissioner John McMillan said this has been a long time coming, with social media a serious concern among respondents since 2007.

“In the last 5 years we have seen a significant change in how people communicate and interact online. People’s attitude to the importance of personal privacy protection is changing at the same time,” Mr McMillan said.

There were fairly big differences in how the public viewed privacy and cybersecurity in various industries. The healthcare sector was found to be the most trustworthy industry, with 90 per cent of respondents agreeing it could be trusted. About 74 per cent said they trusted financial services providers, while 69 per cent said the government was trustworthy.

“There is a business imperative for organisations to be transparent about their personal information handling practices and to ensure that privacy is built in to systems and processes right from the beginning,” added Timothy Pilgrim, Australian Privacy Commissioner.

The public has spoken, and it’s clear that organisations will need to focus on vulnerability management going forward to maintain trust with their customers.

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