Australians think it's ‘creepy’ their personal data is being sold

Richard Cartwright/ABC via Getty Images

The vast majority of Australians (97%) are concerned about how companies handle and use their personal information, according to a survey by KPMG.

They are worried their data could be sold by the company collecting it for gain, according to a survey and study, Creepy or Cool, commissioned by the professional services firm.

The Productivity Commission today released a study into the collection of data, saying the law should be changed to give people the right to access their own information.

“Surprising though it may be to many, individuals have no rights to ownership of the data that is collected about them,” says commission chair Peter Harris.

“Data is increasingly an asset, and when you create an asset you should have the ability to use it, or not, at your choice.”

The global KPMG survey was of nearly 7,000 consumers included 500 from Australia.

The data uses Australians find most creepy are:

  • Selling of personal data to third parties (82% of global respondents agreed)
  • Apps that access personal data
  • Personalised billboards based on previous purchase behaviour
  • Personalised adverts based on personal emails
  • Companies contacting them based on their location and previous use

Millennials, those aged 18 to 35, are less likely than other age groups to be concerned about hackers.

But they are slightly more likely than older people to say their main concern is their data being shared with a third party.

Here’s the type of data Australians are most, and least, likely to share:

Source: KPMG

Law enforcement bodies, health providers and banks are the organisations most trusted with personal data.

Social media and gaming companies are not considered trustworthy.

“The most effective thing organisations can do to assure customers that they can be trusted with people’s data is to tell them what they intend to do with the information and to assure them it won’t be shared with third parties,” says Gary Gill, a KPMG forensic partner.

“They also need do demonstrate strong cyber security systems. Failure to imbed privacy into the DNA of their business strategy could ultimately lead to the extinction of a business given how closely consumers and regulators alike are paying attention to how organizations collect, store and use personal data.”

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