Kiwis wary of social media providers

New Zealanders see social media providers as the least trustworthy organisations for keeping personal details private, despite more Kiwis signing up to Facebook.

The Privacy Commission has released the results of a survey on individual privacy and personal information, showing Kiwis are becoming more worried about privacy issues.

Social media sites came last in a survey of trustworthiness, with 69 per cent of respondents saying they regarded platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as either highly or somewhat untrustworthy.

Half of respondents said they had become more worried about privacy in the past few years.

Executive Director of NetSafe Martin Cocker said people were getting wiser about the need to be cautious when sharing information on social networking services.

"Some examples of different services treating privacy with disdain have become public and consumers have become wary," he said

But he said the big social media sites were not the worst offenders.

"Today [Facebook's] behaviour is better than most. There's lots of lots of smaller sites and apps that people jump on that either have no particular concern for your privacy or will deliberately exploit your privacy for their benefit."

Sixty-one per cent of respondents used Facebook, up 7 per cent since the previous survey in 2012.

Of those, 77 per cent said they had changed their privacy settings, an increase of 3 per cent on the last survey, and 11 per cent from 2010.

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said that figure was encouraging.

"I think this shows more sophistication about the use of those platforms [social networking sites]."

Mr Edwards said there were always risks when using sites that request personal information, but the survey results show people are managing those risks.

The two privacy issues that concern people the most are what children put on the internet and the security of personal information on the internet in general.

The health sector was rated the most trustworthy, with 92 per cent of respondents rating health service providers as trustworthy.

Eighty-four per cent of respondents thought the police were trustworthy, while 37 per cent trusted businesses trading online.

Despite many well-publicised privacy breaches, 60 per cent of respondents thought ACC was highly or somewhat trustworthy - a figure on par with other insurance providers.

The survey results have been released to coincide with the launch of Privacy Week, an annual event organised by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to raise privacy awareness among the public and organisations.

The survey is based on a telephone survey of 750 people aged 18 years and over and was carried out from March 13 to 17.

New Zealanders' top privacy concerns

What children post on the internet: 85 per cent

Credit card or banking details being stolen: 83 per cent

Businesses sharing information with other businesses without permission: 81 per cent

Identity theft: 75 per cent

Government agencies sharing information with other agencies without permission: 67 per cent

Surveillance by overseas government agencies: 63 per cent

Surveillance by New Zealand government agencies: 52 per cent


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