National News

One in Three Australians Unwilling to Share Location Data Even in Pandemic Environment

Australians selective about sharing personal data with organisations and using digital identity mobile facial recognition apps citing privacy concerns

Only just over half (55%) of Australians say they are willing to share location data so that police can find them in an emergency – finds the 2020 Unisys Security Index™, commissioned by Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS).

The longest-running snapshot of consumer security concerns conducted globally, the Unisys Security Index is a global study that examines consumer attitudes toward various security issues and emerging technologies. The 2020 research investigated the Australian public’s readiness to share personal data with organisations and willingness to use a facial recognition mobile app to verify the identity to access online services.

Privacy Concerns Impact Australians’ Willingness to Share Information with Organisations
When asked in which circumstances they were willing to share personal information with organisations, Australian consumers are most willing to share information with police to be located during an emergency, with 55% willing, but almost one in three (28%) are not willing, even after the run of Australia’s natural disasters and the emerging need for contact tracing.

In comparison, 46% of Australians are willing to share personal data with government agencies to expedite access to services such as driver licences and government benefits. Similarly 45% are willing to share data on their buying habits with their bank to be alerted about unusual purchases or possible credit card theft, but only 26% are willing to share the same information with retailers in return for personalised special offers – and majority, 59%, are unwilling.

Australians are moderately willing to share travel habits with the government to get through airport security more quickly (41% willing), but less willing to share health record data from monitoring devices with insurance companies to recommend steps to address potential medical issues (34% willing and 51% unwilling).

“Australians value the privacy of their information and this impacts with whom and why they are willing to share information. The findings show that government agencies and banks have a relatively higher level of consumer trust than insurance agencies and retailers. The top reason given by those unwilling to share their information is that it is not a good enough reason,” says David Chadwick, director for identity and biometrics for Unisys.

Willingness to Verify Identity with a Mobile Facial Recognition App
In an environment where there is high concern about identity theft, the research also asked if Australians would be willing to use a facial recognition mobile app that verified their identity against their passport information to access various government and bank online services.

The percentage of Australians willing to use a mobile facial recognition app to access online services included:
⦁ 53% willing to use it to access online driver licence services
⦁ 49% willing to use it to access online government financial benefits
⦁ 47% willing to use it to update government contact details
⦁ 37% willing to use it to apply online for a home loan with a bank
⦁ 36% willing to use it to apply online for a credit card with a bank

“Overall, Australians are more willing to use a digital identity mobile app with the government than banks. However, support is higher when it is to access a specific service such as a driver licence or apply for financial benefits, rather than to simply update contact details. The top reason given for being unwilling to use such facial recognition apps is that they don’t want others to access their biometric data. To grow community willingness to use digital identities, organisations, including government agencies, must build consumer trust by being transparent about what data is and is not collected and how it is used to authenticate a person’s identity,” explains Mr Chadwick.

The research was conducted 16 March – 5 April 2020 following several natural disaster emergencies including the driest and warmest year on record in Australia marked by severe and protracted drought1, the worst bushfire season on record followed by severe rainfall and flash flooding2 and the global outbreak of COVID-19.

Unsurprisingly Australians rank natural disasters as the security issue they are most concerned about in 2020 with 57% of Australians seriously concerned about this issue. However, they are just as concerned about identity theft with 56% of Australians seriously concerned about this.

For more information on the Unisys Security Index, visit www.unisyssecurityindex.com.au.

X