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Kiwis have a strong distrust over how companies use their personal data

By Ryan Morris-Reade, Thu 7 Oct 2021

According to new research, the majority of New Zealanders are concerned about data privacy, with 53% stating companies are requesting too much personal information.

The research, conducted by Toluna, a consumer intelligence platform, surveyed 539 Kiwis between 9-11 August 2021. It showed high levels of distrust in companies ability to store personal information securely. It found Kiwis will proactively protect their data by using VPNs and private browsing windows.  

The findings revealed a high level of awareness about data collection, with 89% of New Zealanders aware that companies such as Facebook and Google are collecting and using their data. The majority (80%) say they're concerned about the collected information, with half (53%) saying companies request too much personal data.  

The most significant concern for consumers around data privacy is the possibility of the data being hacked and their personal information stolen (76%), followed by the concern their data will be shared or sold to other companies (58%).  

When it came to the types of information consumers are willing to share with brands, half (51%) are happy to share their entertainment choices, such as movies watched or games played, and 54% were willing to share lifestyle information such as hobbies and interests.  

Almost half (42%) were happy to share demographic information with brands, such as age, gender and income. Under a third say they'd be willing to share purchase history (29%) or online browsing behaviour (29%), with few willing to share real-time location information, such as GPS data or browser IP (19%).

In social media platforms and messaging services, TikTok was ranked as the most untrustworthy platform, with 62% of respondents stating they don't trust TikTok with personal data, closely followed by Facebook (58%), Twitter (56%), Snapchat (55%), Instagram (53%), and Houseparty (52%). 

There was also distrust of Reddit (48%), with slightly less for Pinterest (44%), YouTube (36%) and LinkedIn (35%). Across all social media platforms, a higher percentage of respondents didn't trust the companies with their data than those who did. 

The research found some Kiwis are proactively taking measures to protect their data online. Around a third (31%) say they pay close attention to privacy agreements, with half (51%) using different passwords across all online sites. Just under half disable location-based services on their devices (41%), with 32% disabling cookies in their browser. 

Using a private browsing window (31%), browser add-ons like Ghostery or Ad Blockers (31%), or using a VPN to connect to the internet (18%) are other ways New Zealanders protect their privacy online. Some (15%) even set up and use dummy emails for promotions, deals, loyalty programs, and social media.  

Toluna New Zealand regional director, Stephen Walker, says businesses need to ensure consumers are adequately rewarded for their data.  

"Understanding your customers is a core component of business, but as consumers become more savvy about data collection, transparency is key," he says. 

"Businesses need to clearly state the reasons they're collecting customer information and provide adequate incentives to continue to build trust. These findings show us that when consumers feel as though they've been rewarded for sharing their data, they're much happier to share information. 

"With a growing focus on security, it's imperative that businesses storing customer data ensure it's done in the most secure way possible." 

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