Aussies lose faith in governments and social media to properly protect their private data

Helena BurkeNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Australians have become less trusting of how governments and companies use their private data following two years of using check-in apps during the Covid-19 pandemic.

New analysis from the Australian National University shows people’s trust in major institutions to maintain data privacy fell from 5.70/10 to 5.49/10 between May 2020 and August 2021.

The organisations which saw the biggest decrease in trust from Aussies were the federal and state and territory governments, along with social media sites and companies people used for online shopping.

Despite the fall in trust, most Aussies continue to use Covid-19 check in apps.

“In another really fascinating finding, the majority of Australians who expressed low trust in how institutions use their data – 54.2 per cent – said they always use check-in apps,” study co-author Nicholas Biddle said.

“While this is quite a fair bit lower than those who have high trust in institutions – 68.5 per cent – it shows that despite their concerns, many Australians are doing the right thing and what they have been asked to do by governments to help keep each other and their communities safe during the pandemic.”

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Camera IconAmong the organisations that saw the biggest decrease in trust were Australia’s federal, state and territory governments. Credit: News Corp Australia
Camera IconDespite the fall in trust, most Aussies continue to use Covid-19 check in apps. Damian Shaw / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

Professor Biddle said while the decline in trust seemed small, it was “significant”.

“Our analysis, covering a time when much of the east coast of Australia was living in lockdown, shows Australians were starting to get more wary about how their private data from check-in apps might be used by major institutions, including governments and corporations,” he said.

“Australians also expressed an increase in concern about the overall security of personal data and information – jumping from 20.82 to 21.40 on a scale of seven to 28 over the same period.”

The ANU study, which surveyed more than 3000 adults, also revealed which Australians were most likely to use Covid-19 check in apps.

Women were more likely to check in compared to men, with 67.4 per cent saying they always use the app, compared to 56.3 per cent of men.

Indigenous Australians, those born overseas in a non-English speaking country, and those with low levels of education were all less likely to the check-in apps than those from more privileged backgrounds.

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Camera IconWomen were more likely to use check-in codes than men, according to the study Credit: istock

Vaccinated Australians were significantly more likely to use check-in apps than their unvaccinated counterparts.

The analysis forms part of Australia’s largest and longest running longitudinal study on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic across the nation, headed by the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods.

Originally published as Aussies lose faith in governments and social media to properly protect their private data

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