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BizReport : Ecommerce : June 24, 2013


Consumers protect privacy with false personal information

Privacy concerns lead to consumers providing false data to websites, or the avoidance of giving information they don't think is necessary, according to two new research papers by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and US-based not-for-profit Customer Commons.

by Helen Leggatt

Almost half (47%) of Australians provide websites with inaccurate personal information, intentionally, according to the ACMA paper 'The Cloud: services, computing and digital data - Emerging issues in media and communications, Occasional paper 3'. Most provide inaccurate information when they do not feel that the information is needed by the website.

Over half (52%) of Australians have low confidence in the privacy settings of online providers, and a further 35% would not provide personal at all if a website were based outside of Australia.

"Privacy remains an enduring concept in the media and communications environment," said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman. "And as several recent events have demonstrated, citizens remain highly sensitive to intrusions on their privacy and the mishandling of their personal data - perhaps more so."

The results of the research not only highlight users' concerns about online privacy, but also pose a problem for advertisers and marketers seeking to use such data to target future campaigns.

Last month, California-based not-for-profit, Customer Commons, released a research paper, 'Lying and Hiding in the Name of Privacy'. Researchers Mary Hodder and Elizabeth Churchill found that only 8.45% of respondents always accurately disclosed personal information. The remaining 91.55%, when they decided a website did not need specific personal information, chose to provide inaccurate data such as zip codes, phone numbers or date of birth.

Furthermore, many chose to withhold at least some personal data such as:

- 49.3% did not give their true identity;
- 58.3% did not provide a primary email address;
- 75.7% avoid providing a mobile number;
- 74.8% avoid using 'social logins'.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: Australia, big data, data collection, personal information, privacy










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