Online trust a two-way street | ACMA


14 November, 2013 03:50 PM


Online trust a two-way street

By Editor

Graphic of person with key embedded in torso

Online providers that are clear about how data will be used are more likely to win their customers’ trust and confidence. Australian consumers want to be told why online services need their personal information—before they share it.

That’s one of the key insights outlined in a new ACMA research reportSharing digital identityreleased today as the second of three short reports discussing the findings of the Digital footprint and identities community attitudinal research.

Australians are more willing to disclose information where they see certain triggers for trust. These include:

  • knowing and trusting the organisation in the offline world
  • recognising an encryption symbol (like a padlock) or similar security assurance on the site
  • if the site looks professional
  • if the information required is seen as necessary and
  • if the site is based in Australia.

When people are unsure who they are dealing with, or why information is being requested, nearly half of those surveyed preferred to provide misleading or inaccurate personal details. They often make up something if a service they want requires this information. This potentially reduces the value and usefulness of online data collected about individual users.

The research suggests some key points for providers of online services and applications to consider when thinking about building trust with their customers:

  • consumers are more inclined to provide personal data if they know why it is needed
  • some people would prefer not to give their real name or other identifying details
  • consumers accept that data breaches commonly occur, and highly value a service provider being upfront about it.

Source: ACMA, Managing your digital identity—Digital footprints and identities research, Short report 1, November 2013. 1. Conduct a personal identity audit to understand: > who your information is shared with > what your information will be used for > whether your personal data is discarded once it is not required. 2. Use privacy-enhancing tools such as personal data vaults, anonymisers and personal data monitors. 3. Stay informed about how to protect your digital privacy. Stay in control 40% are confident using privacy settings … but 37% just ‘hope for the best’. 65% of us manage between five and 50 login and password combinations Managing our online identity is a juggling act: How we manage Only 29% will give our current location. About 50% of us will give our home address, phone number(s) and place of birth More than 75% of us will give our full name, date of birth and gender We’re most willing to share our information with government organisations: For your information > if there’s no encryption symbol on the site 83% > if the site appears unprofessional 64% >if it seems unnecessary 61% > if the site is not based in Australia 36% Many of us withhold personal information if we’re not confident about how or why it’s being used: Context matters Aussies protect themselves on the internet by adopting a ‘digital disguise’. 47% of us—and 64% of those aged 18 to 24—give inaccurate information online or none at all. But why do we do it and how can we better manage our online identity, security and privacy? A tangled web ACMA logo

Read the full reports:

  • Digital footprints and identities: Community attitudinal research report [pdf and Word]
  • Managing your digital identity: Digital footprints and identities short report 1 [pdf and Word]
  • Sharing digital identity: Digital footprints and identities short report 2 [pdf and Word]
  • Identity and responsibility: Digital footprints and identities short report 3 [pdf and Word]