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Happy Data Privacy Day, 34% Canadians Concerned About Security

rp_Privacy.jpegYesterday was Data Privacy Day, which is an International moment where privacy professionals, corporations, government officials, academics and students around the world highlight the impact that technology is having on our privacy rights and underlines the importance of valuing and protecting personal information.  As part of the day, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released the results of a new study.   According to the results, one in three (34%) said they were extremely concerned about their data security – up significantly from 25 percent in 2012.

“Canadians are telling us they are concerned about many privacy issues, for example, data breaches, identity theft, digital privacy and warrantless access to personal data held by telecommunications companies,” says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien.

“Canadians deeply value privacy, but fear they are losing the control they have over their personal information. It’s imperative we find ways to enhance that sense of control so that people feel their privacy rights are being respected.”

More than seven in 10 Canadians (73%) said they feel they have less protection of their personal information in their daily lives – the highest level in a decade. Meanwhile, 60 percent say they have little expectation of privacy today, either online or in the real world because there are so many ways in which their privacy can be compromised.

As part of the survey, 1,500 Canadians were polled and some additional data found that:

  • A significant majority (78%) expressed concern about how personal information about them online might be used in the context of government surveillance.
  • More than half of Canadians (57%) said they were “not comfortable” with government departments and agencies requesting personal information from telecommunications companies without a warrant.
  • Canadians expressed particular concern about what might happen to the personal information stored on a mobile device if it was lost or stolen, with nearly half (49%) saying they were extremely concerned.
  • Nearly 30 percent of respondents said they had been negatively affected by a breach. Most felt it is at least somewhat likely that their privacy may be breached by someone using their credit or debit card (78 %), stealing their identity (78%), or accessing personal information stored on their computer or mobile device (74%).

What are Canadians doing to protect their privacy?

  • Almost eight in 10 people surveyed (78%) have become less willing to share their personal information with organizations in the wake of media stories about sensitive information being lost, stolen or made public.
  • More than three-quarters (77%) had refused to provide an organization with their personal information at one point in time.
  • Eight in 10 (81%) are more likely to choose to do business with a company specifically because it has a good reputation for privacy practices.

How can you protect your privacy on a mobile device?

  • 77 percent use a password lock (compared to only 39% in 2011);
  • 72 percent adjust settings to limit info sharing (compared to 40% in 2011);
  • 75 percent have decided not to install an app because of concerns re. the personal information requested (compared to 55% in 2011); and
  • 58 percent have turned off location tracking because of privacy concerns (compared to 38% in 2012.)