A new study into online privacy issues has found that although Australians are concerned about their data being used without their consent, very few of us are aware how different apps use our data.
The study by Roy Morgan Research found that 90 per cent of Australians are either “not sure” or only “somewhat understand” how several leading apps use and/or share their data.
Some 94.6 per cent of Australians using Apple apps are either “not sure” or only “somewhat understand” how Apple uses or shares their personal data – higher than any other specific brand mentioned in the survey.
Following closely behind are leading social networks including Twitter (94.3 per cent of Twitter users), Instagram (94. per cent of Instagram users), Snapchat (93.7 per cent of Snapchat users), Messenger (92.8 per cent of Messenger users), Google (91.9 per cent of Google users) and Facebook (90.9 per cent of Facebook users).
Generic ‘Other’ apps fare even worse with 95.8 per cent of Australians who use “other” apps “not sure” or only “somewhat understand” how these other apps use or share their personal data. A further 94.4 per cent of users of smart home devices and 94.1 per cent of users of online sales apps are also “not sure” or only “somewhat understand” how these apps use or share their personal data.
Percentage of Australians who are either ‘not sure’ or ‘somewhat understand’
how they use and/or share my data
Commenting on the study, Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said: “The issue of data privacy online has been running hot for some time now since it was revealed British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica had ‘harvested’ tens of millions of Facebook users’ accounts to precisely target advertising to help elect US President Donald Trump.
“However, despite the concerns raised about the potential misuse of personal data whether financial, medical, location data, purchase/transaction data, browsing histories, political preferences, sexual orientation, phone contacts, personal photos or other personally identifiable information, only a tiny minority of Australians (between 5-10 per cent) believe they ‘fully understand’ how companies such as Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Google ‘use and/or share their personal data’.
“Over half of users of Apple, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Messenger say they aren’t sure how these companies use and/or share their personal data. It appears the media scrutiny on Facebook is having some impact as only 39 per cent of Facebook users say the same about the ubiquitious social network – the lowest figure for any of the leading social networks measured in the study.
“The pressure on Facebook has yielded a result of sorts with Facebook launching worldwide advertising campaigns to argue they are doing something about the problems of ‘fake news’, ‘fake accounts’, ‘clickbait’, ‘spam’ and ‘data misuse’ – with the campaign ‘(Insert here) is not your friend’.
“It remains to be seen whether Facebook’s campaign to restore their image will be successful but what we do know is that the best way to get ahead of problems revolving around privacy concerns and issues of trust and distrust is to tap into the extensive Roy Morgan Single Source data based on in-depth face-to-face interviewing of over 1,000 Australians per week, and over 50,000 per year,” Levine said.