Trust remains high despite privacy breaches

Last updated 10:58 20/03/2014

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Privacy breaches at ACC, the Earthquake Commission, and Work and Income don't appear to have shaken public confidence in government agencies, according to a survey.

Most New Zealanders still had a fair degree of trust that government agencies would keep their identity information safe, unlike in Europe, a Victoria University study has found.

The national study, sponsored by the Department of Internal Affairs and led by the university's e-government professor Miriam Lips, also found Maori were significantly more likely than non-Maori to share personal information when transacting with government agencies online.

The university surveyed 467 people and found 80 per cent trusted or "tended to trust" government agencies to keep their personal information safe.

Trust in banks, at 89 per cent, was higher, while only 3.4 per cent put the same trust in online dating sites.

Victoria University contrasted that with the findings of a survey last year that said 64 per cent of Europeans feared their personal data was not safe in the hands of public authorities.

Age, ethnicity, income and education all influenced how people managed their personal information online, Lips said.

Older people were less likely to use online government services, internet banking and social media.

A quarter of those surveyed claimed to read online privacy statements and understand them. Kiwis were less likely to have experienced cybercrime than internet users overseas but people on low incomes and ethnic minorities were over-represented among those that had.

The university will interview those it surveyed and hopes to provide more detailed findings later this year.

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