'The digital revolution is driving concerns amongst New Zealanders,' said Marie Shroff, the Privacy Commissioner, responding to results of the latest UMR survey about privacy. 'New Zealanders are increasingly online but also worried about their ability to control their digital presence.'
Social networking use has risen from 14% in 2007 to 54% in 2012, with a rise of more than 11% in the last two years. A massive 88% of people under 30 are now using Facebook. The number of older users is also going up, with 20% of people over 60 years old now on Facebook.
'The survey shows that people are increasingly conscious of privacy while they're engaging online, so there are some lessons in here particularly for the internet corporate giants,' said Marie Shroff. People who have changed privacy settings on their Facebook pages are up 14% to 74%, especially among young people - they are making real efforts to control who sees their information. Three-fifths of respondents don't like Facebook and Google tracking emails and internet use to target them individually with marketing and advertising. Not surprisingly 84% of respondents are worried about information children put on the internet about themselves. And holding personal information offshore worried 56% of people, with an additional 22% neutral or undecided.
'While people are saying they are concerned, there's still a certain level of naivety out there - for example 55% of New Zealanders still think that Facebook is a 'private space', including some people who have never changed their privacy settings,' said Marie Shroff. 'Even if you lock down your privacy settings completely, you're still at risk of your 'friends' republishing information about you. And Facebook itself, and sometimes its business partners, may be able to use the information you put up there for their own ends.'
'There's no such thing as a free lunch - our information is the product that the internet giants are using. So it is slightly risky to presume a social media site is private, even if you think you're only talking to people you know. Social media can be hugely useful, but think at least twice about putting up any information that could come back to bite you. 11% of people on our survey said that they regret sharing some information on their Facebook page,' Marie Shroff said.
Notes for editors:
- The poll was a telephone survey by UMR of 750 New Zealanders 18 years of age and older, conducted from 22 to 27 March 2012.
- The margin of error for sample size of 750 for a 50% figure at the '95% confidence level' is +/-3.6%.
- Media coverage of the ACC privacy incident from 15 March 2012 may have affected poll results for some questions.
Field work dates for the project were fixed before the ACC story broke.
For further information contact Cathy Henry on 021 509 735.