There is nothing like receiving a great report card. The pride I would feel was truly magic – even if it was only occasionally. Well, it appears as though Aussies should also feel very proud because our privacy report card is in and we are definitely improving!
Launched by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) in conjunction with McAfee, The 2013 Community Attitudes to Privacy research report explores Aussies’ changing attitudes to privacy and reveals that we are placing more value on our privacy and digital footprint than ever before. Previously conducted in 2007, the research is a great way of seeing how our attitudes towards the use of our personal information have evolved.
Here are some of the highlights that provide a little insight into how we are dealing with our personal information online:
- Almost all of us (97%) believe organisations are misusing our personal information if they collect it for one purpose and use it for another
- 90% of us are concerned about organisations sending our personal data overseas
- 23% of us believe identity theft and fraud are the greatest privacy risks facing our community
- 33% have had a problem with the way their info has been handled in the last year
- 29% would contact the business that is responsible for a breach of their data, an increase of more than double since 2007 when it was 13%
- 25% are reluctant to provide key pieces of personal information (usually financial) because of privacy related concerns
- 48% believe that online services and/or social media sites pose the biggest risk to community privacy
So it seems we have come a long way. We are clearly more knowledgeable and better informed about how we share and store our personal information. Not only are we far more reluctant to share personally identifiable information (such as our home address and DOB) than in 2007, we are much more likely to contact either the Federal or State Privacy Commissioner in the event that personal information had been misused.
But like every report card (particularly mine!) there is room for improvement. There are things we can be doing to further ‘sure’ up our privacy online. So, here are my top tips to ensure you are keeping close watch over your online privacy:
- Tighten Your Privacy Settings. Most social media platforms (including Facebook) offer customisable privacy settings that allow you to limit who can see what. Limit sensitive data like email addresses and phone numbers to ‘trusted’ friends.
- Manage Your Password Carefully. Make sure your password has at least 8 characters with a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. And ensure you change it at least every 6 months. Check out how secure your password is at: www.howsecureismypassword.com.
- Think Before You Post. If there is something about you that you don’t want the world to know or see then DON’T SHARE IT ONLINE. Whether it is your telephone number, pictures of your kids or some crazy party shots that you want to keep to yourself and out of the hands of potential cybercriminals, employers or even family member. The easiest way to keep information private is not to share it at all.
- Use Dedicated Email Accounts. Protect your primary email address and set up dedicated email addresses for your social networking sites and other online activities. If you happen to become a victim of spam or phishing, your primary email address is still safe and protected.
- Invest in Comprehensive Security Software. McAfee’s LiveSafe offers unlimited device security for PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets against the latest viruses, malware and spam along with a host of other extras including the ability to track and lock your lost devices, an intuitive cloud-based ‘safety deposit box’ plus the mother’s best friend, the awesome password management tool, SafeKey.
For more information about the research report, check out the OAIC website.
‘Till Next Time
Stay Safe Online