Soaring privacy concerns shake up New Zealand in latest survey

Revealed – impact of privacy concerns on New Zealanders' behaviour

Soaring privacy concerns shake up New Zealand in latest survey


By Roxanne Libatique

As Privacy Week 2024 begins, a new survey has highlighted a notable rise in privacy concerns among New Zealanders.

The survey, conducted every two years, reflects increasing anxiety over privacy breaches and the expanding role of technology in daily life.

“These results paint a picture of the current state of privacy in New Zealand and shows to me that Kiwis aren’t as complacent as our well-advertised ‘she’ll be right’ attitude might indicate,” said Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster.

New Zealanders are now more concerned about their privacy

The survey indicated that 55% of the respondents have grown more concerned about their privacy over the past few years – a 14% increase from the last survey.

A significant number of New Zealanders are calling for enhanced control over their personal information:

  • 80% advocate for greater choice and control over data collection and usage
  • 83% want notifications when their data is used in automated decisions
  • 82% seek the ability to have their data deleted by businesses

“These increases line up with what we also heard from Kiwis about specific privacy issues, with the highest levels of concern among survey respondents being organisations sharing data, the use of AI in decision-making, and cyberattacks,” Webster said.

About two-thirds of New Zealanders worry about:

  • the sharing of their personal information without consent by businesses or government (67%)
  • the use of their personal data in AI-driven decisions by public and private entities (66%)
  • the loss of personal information through cyberattacks (65%)

Concerns about the undisclosed use of facial recognition technology also remain high, with 64% of those surveyed expressing significant unease.

Impact of privacy concerns on New Zealanders’ behaviour

The impact of these privacy concerns on behaviour is evident, as the survey revealed changes in how individuals engage with digital platforms.

In the past year, 33% avoided social media, while 28% steered clear of online browsing, shopping, and dating due to privacy fears. Additionally, 70% indicated a willingness to switch service providers if they encountered poor privacy or security practices.

The latest findings align with CERT NZ's latest report, which revealed that the increase of cyberattack incidents in the country has led to a significant rise in the adoption of protective online behaviours.

Privacy Week, running from May 13 to 17, features a lineup of free online seminars aimed at addressing these and other privacy issues, further educating the public on maintaining personal data security and privacy rights.

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