Majority of Australians say online privacy beyond their control

27 November 2017

Australians are seriously concerned about their digital privacy, according to University of Sydney research that shows many people worry about government and corporate violations.

The Digital Rights and Governance Project at the University of Sydney surveyed 1600 Australians about their digital rights, the need for governance and the responsibilities of social media platforms.The findings, published in a report launched today , show 67 percent of Australians take steps to protect their privacy online, but only 38 percent feel in control.

"Australians' personal and professional lives are being transformed by digital disruption, while lawmakers, technology elites and corporate boards fail to keep up. Data hoarding and seemingly opaque decision-making has given rise to community concern and an urgent need for our digital rights to be clearly laid out by the government," said report co-author, Professor Gerard Goggin.

"Our results provide a snapshot of the nation's attitudes and behaviours in the digital world and show Australians' clear concerns about how their information is being used and accessed by governments, social media platforms and corporations," said co-author Professor AriadneVromen.

According to the report, almost 80 percent of Australians want to know what information of theirs is being accessed, by whom, and how to report and correct inaccuracies.

"There is a meaningful desire amongst the community to be better informed and empowered about personal data. The recent Uber data breach emerged after our research was complete, but it nonetheless shows digital privacy concerns are often well-founded," said co-author Professor Kimberlee Weatherall .

Read more about the Digital Rights in Australia report.