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Half of all New Zealanders (50%) report becoming ‘more concerned’ about privacy issues over the last few years, a new survey by the Privacy Commissioner shows.

It is the highest level yet recorded in that category in the tracking survey conducted by the Privacy Commissioner (40% reported becoming more concerned in the 2012 survey).

The two-yearly UMR Individual Privacy & Personal Information survey is being released today to coincide with Privacy Week, an annual event to raise privacy awareness among the public and organisations.

In other results, Christchurch residents saying they had become more concerned increased by 25% to 54 percent.

The proportions of young people saying they have become more concerned also increased to 50 percent (increase of 17%).

The percentage of New Zealanders who say they are ‘very concerned’ about individual privacy has fallen to 40 percent (from 49% in 2012).

Areas of common concern persist

The two privacy issues that concern people the most are what children put on the internet and, in general, the security of personal information on the internet.

Levels of concern for both issues remain at the same high level as in 2012, with 85 percent saying they are concerned with what children themselves post on the internet (down 1%) and 80 percent concerned about the security of personal information on the internet (down 1%).

Other issues

  • 83 percent of New Zealanders say they are concerned about their credit card or banking details being stolen
  • 75 percent say they are concerned about identity theft
  • 81 percent say they are concerned about businesses sharing information with other businesses without permission
  • 67 percent say they are concerned about government agencies sharing information with other agencies without permission
  • 63 percent say they are concerned about surveillance by overseas government agencies
  • 52 percent say they are concerned about surveillance by New Zealand government agencies
  • Maori are more concerned than other respondents about businesses sharing information (93%) and sharing of information in the health sector (76%)
  • Concern about biometrics such as the use of fingerprinting or iris scanning for identification is relatively low (33%).

Trustworthy organisations

In the trustworthiness of organisations, social networking providers came right at the bottom of the list of organisations. Only 18 percent of New Zealanders said they regarded platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as either highly or somewhat trustworthy, while 69 percent thought they were highly or somewhat untrustworthy.

  • 92 percent rated health service providers as trustworthy
  • 84 percent thought the Police were trustworthy
  • Businesses selling over the internet were generally not seen as particularly trustworthy with 37 percent rating them as trustworthy and 52 percent at untrustworthy.

Government agencies generally polled better than private sector organisations (71 percent rated government agencies as highly or somewhat trustworthy). ACC was rated on a par with other insurance providers (60 percent rated ACC as highly or somewhat trustworthy).

Most New Zealanders surveyed (65%) said they felt they had to put up with the way government agencies use and protect their information, on that grounds that they have to deal with those agencies to get the things they need.

The survey is based on a nationwide survey of 750 people aged 18 years and over and was carried out from 13-17 March 2014.

ENDS

Note for Editors:

The complete 2014 UMR Individual Privacy & Personal Information report is available here.

The margin of error for a sample size of 750 for a 50% figure at the 95% confidence level is +/- 3.6 percent.

Privacy Week is an annual event to raise privacy awareness among the public and organisations. For more information about Privacy Week 2014, visit www.privacy.org.nz.

For more information, contact Charles Mabbett 021 509 735.