Most Australians Worried About Website Privacy


Fewer than 40 per cent of Australians are confident that website privacy settings protect their digital information, according to a new Australian Communications and Media Authority paper, Privacy and personal data- Emerging issues in media and Communications, Occasional paper 4 (Word | PDF).

‘Privacy remains an enduring concept in the media and communications environment,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman. ‘And as several recent events have demonstrated, citizens remain highly sensitive to intrusions on their privacy and the mishandling of their personal data – perhaps more so.’

In this, the final in a series of four occasional papers addressing various emerging issues in contemporary communications and media, the ACMA discusses the impact of the emerging information economy on digital citizens’ privacy and the need for a coherent framework within which new privacy safeguards can be developed.

‘Personal information has been referred to as the new oil or currency of the information economy with citizens undertaking an increasing range of social and economic activities online,’ Mr Chapman said. ‘Not all of this data is protected by existing privacy safeguards, most of which were developed for a pre-information economy.’

‘Effective protection of personal data in the digital economy is likely to require a mix of regulatory and non-regulatory measures that are tailored to the specific contexts in which privacy concerns arise. However, Australian citizens and industry would benefit from a coherent regulatory framework which facilitates logical and predictable privacy outcomes.’

The ACMA is hosting a Citizen conversation on broadcasting privacy next Tuesday, 25 June, as part of its Contemporary community safeguards inquiry.

Some ways that Australians are dealing with their personal information include:

  • almost one-half will provide a site with inaccurate personal information to an online site in order to protect their privacy; while
  • almost 90 per cent would stop using a site that inadvertently disclosed their credit card details.

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