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Tuesday, 30 October 2018 10:47

Australians reveal concerns about data security and identity protection: report Featured

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Australians reveal concerns about data security and identity protection: report Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Australians are more comfortable using digital identities to engage with government than with commercial entities or financial service providers, citing data security concerns and not feeling in control of their own identity as the top barriers, according to a new research report.

The 2018 Unisys Security Index, released on Tuesday, also reveals that one in three Australians are not comfortable using a centralised electronic health record, repeating their data security concerns and lack of control of their own identities.

The Index list top four security concerns for Australians in 2018 as:

  • Identity theft: 57% of Australians are extremely or very concerned about unauthorised access to, or misuse of, personal information.
  • Bank card fraud: 52% of Australians are similarly concerned about other people obtaining or using their credit/debit card details.
  • Internet virus/hacking: 53%of Australians are concerned about these issues.
  • War or terrorism: 48% of Australians are concerned about these issues.

Younger Australians aged 18-24 years are more concerned than those over 55, according to the Index, and unlike the other Asia Pacific countries in the survey (Malaysia, New Zealand and the Philippines), the level of concern is even for both men and women.

But, concern is higher for those on higher incomes, which is the reverse of most other countries in the survey.

peter unisys

“This year’s Unisys Security Index shows that Australians are more concerned about data security issues such as identity theft, credit card fraud, internet viruses and hacking than about terrorism, natural disasters or personal safety,” says Tony Windever, vice-president and managing director, Unisys Asia Pacific.

“This has a direct impact on how comfortable consumers are in embracing digital services that involve sensitive personal information.”

This year’s study also examined how comfortable Australians are with using various forms of digital identity to access services online and offline.

And the study found Australians are more comfortable using digital identities to interact with government organisations than with commercial or financial services providers – they are most comfortable with biometrics, such as fingerprints or facial scans, used to verify passenger identities at airports (65% of respondents) or exchanged between law enforcement and border control agencies to identify potential criminals (62%).

While 56% of Australians are comfortable using a single user ID and authentication to access multiple government services, only 41% are comfortable using the same sort of digital identity to access services from different financial service providers.

However, the study reveals that only half of Australians (50%) are comfortable with a centralised electronic health record, with 31% not comfortable, citing concerns about data security (57%) and not feeling in control of one’s identity (40%) as the top reasons for not being comfortable.

“For all of the digital identities we looked at, concern around data security is the top reason for not being comfortable using them. The results indicate Australians have a higher level of confidence in the government’s ability to keep their data secure,” Windever said.

“Even so, nearly one in three citizens (31%) are not comfortable with electronic health records due to concerns about data security or not being in control of their identities. And they are even less open to embracing digital identities to engage with banking or commercial entities.

"This underscores the need for organisations to gain trust and build consumer confidence in the digital services they provide by not only showing how data is protected, but also having a clear and meaningful benefit that offers a compelling reason for people to use them.”

To access the 2018 Unisys Security Index click here.

Table: courtesy Unisys

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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