Survey shows Australians concerns over data sharing

Australians want to be able to deal with all levels of government online but are wary of how governments use their personal data, according to a major survey.

The report, commissioned by IT services company Unisys, found that half of Australian respondents prefer online channels in their interaction with government, rather than phone and in-person interactions.

This is a significant increase from 29 per cent in 2016.

There is also high support for a single mobile app to access multiple government services.

The research also found that more than three quarters (80 per cent) of Australians believe government agencies already share citizen demographic data.

Their support for data sharing depends on the purpose and perceived benefit. Support is strongest (48 per cent) when data sharing enables law enforcement agencies to identify crime and terrorism.

Concerns around data sharing

However, at the same time, many people said that they didn’t want the government to share their data.

The reasons they gave included:

  • “it’s not clear to me how the government will use the data” (62 per cent)

  • “it infringes my right to privacy” (58 per cent)

  • “my data will not protected from an internal accidental security breach” (54 per cent).

Types of transactions

The survey also showed that the preferred way to engage with government varied depending on the type of transaction.

Australians prefer to go online to complete their tax returns and find information about public services. But they want in-person interactions to obtain or renew a driver’s license, passport or building permit.

Online and in-person channels are preferred to apply for benefit payments, whereas phone calls and online are preferred to report incidents and issues to local council for action.

Access through apps, mobiles

63 per cent of Australians want a single mobile app that gives access to multiple government agencies, whereas only 41 per cent say they would download individual apps for each department.

47 per cent want to access government websites via their phones.

The report is available here.

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