A major survey has found that only 2 per cent of New Zealanders always read online privacy policies - backing up recent comments by Privacy Commissioner John Edwards, who has targetted what he called "click to consent" practices.
• SIM card hijacking costs Kiwis big money
• Digital privacy tips for social media and websites on your phone - Sinead Corcoran gets some advice
• Cert NZ warns about three types of Covid-19 scams
The most common reason cited was that the policies are too long and confusing.
That's according to a demographically weighted Harris Poll of 10,000 people, including 1009 New Zealand adults, conducted for Norton LifeLock between November 5 and December 2, 2019.
Edwards recently called on companies to be more up-front with their privacy policies - and to make them practical and accessible, rather than running to hundreds of pages of legalese. He also challenged organisations to publish stats on how many people actually clicked through to read a policy, and how much time was spent reading them by those who did make effort.
And that could rise again this year: Cert NZ and other government agencies are warning about a wave of Covid-19 online scams (detailed here).
The study also found that one in six New Zealand respondents had experienced identity theft: 5 per cent were affected in the past year alone.
Again, that's a figure that could rise this year. Cert NZ recently warned Kiwis about the rise of a new form of identify theft: sim card hijacking.
Younger adults (18-39) are no more or less likely than older adults (40+) to have experienced identity theft but are more likely to have experienced cyber crime (68 per cent vs 54 per cent), according to the study.
Two in three Kiwis say they would not know what to do if they were to fall victim to ID theft. Most (85 per cent) wishthey had more information on what to do if they did.
Crown agency Cert NZ (the Computer Emergency Response Team) is pitched as the best first point of contact for any individual or small business hit by cyber crime. Cert NZ can point you to the right law enforcement contact, and advice on getting technical help.
Most New Zealand adults (86 per cent) believe consumers should always read companies' privacy policies in full, but more than half of Kiwis rarely or never read them in full (56 per cent).
New Zealanders lose time and money to cyber crime
The NortonLifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report has found that more than 1.2 million New Zealanders (36 per cent) experienced cyber crime last year. And nearly 5.4 million hours – or an average of 4.3 hours per victim – were spent resolving issues created by the crime.
Close to a third of New Zealand cyber crime victims (30 per cent) lost money: about $108 million in the past year alone.
One in six New Zealand adults have experienced identity theft
More than 605,000 New Zealand adults (17 per cent) have experienced identity theft, and 5 per cent were affected last year. More than half of Kiwis (56 per cent), whether they have experienced identity theft or not, are very worried that their identity will be stolen, but this trails the global average of 66 per cent.
Half of New Zealanders (50 per cent) also feel they are well protected against ID theft, but two thirds (67 per cent) say they would have no idea what to do if their identity were stolen and 85 per cent wish they had more information on what to do if it happened. "What we're seeing is New Zealanders who have historically taken a 'she'll be right' attitude are increasingly aware of the chance of identity theft but don't know what to do if it does happen, and they're desperate for more information," says NortonLifeLock security expert Mark Gorrie.
Trust and distrust in our institutions
Fewer than half of New Zealand consumers give credit to companies (40 per cent) or the government (46 per cent) for doing enough when it comes to data privacy and protection. And, almost half (46 per cent) believe that New Zealand is behind most other countries when it comes to data privacy laws.
Once the Privacy Bill comes into force, New Zealanders may begin to feel differently, says Gorrie.
"The Privacy Bill should put the onus on businesses to ensure they're keeping personal information safe and secure.
"Under the proposed new regulations, New Zealand businesses must report serious data breaches to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Businesses also must provide the personal information held on an individual to that individual if they ask for it. An important part of the bill requires overseas service providers, like social media or cloud software companies, to also comply with the new laws," he adds.
Only 2 per cent read privacy policies
New Zealanders are split on who should ensure personal information and data privacy are protected. Nearly four in 10 believe the government should be held most responsible, one-third put the burden on companies, followed closely by ndividual consumers (29 per cent) who should be protecting their own data privacy by reading the policies and ensuring their personal information is shared only with companies they trust.
Most New Zealand adults (86 per cent) believe consumers should always read companies' privacy policies in full but a mere 2 per cent report always doing so themselves.
Only 9 per cent say they do it often.
Most of those who don't always read privacy policies in full say it's because they are too confusing and they feel they have no choice but to accept the policies to use the app or service (86 per cent v 78 per cent global average). And nine out of 10 say that they would be more willing to read privacy policies if they were given choices about how their personal information could or couldn't be used.
Facial recognition familiarity
As security measures in public spaces increase, facial recognition technology is becoming more common. New Zealand consumers are among the most familiar with facial recognition (64 per cent v 52 per cent global average), second only to India (70 per cent) and on par with the United States (64 per cent).
Despite familiarity with the technology, skepticism remains. Most New Zealand consumers (66 per cent) believe facial recognition will be abused or misused in the next year – above the global average of 62 per cent.
New Zealanders overwhelmingly believe businesses (93 per cent) and the government (92 per cent) should have to report where or when they are using facial recognition – well above the global averages.
Specifically, the top concern among New Zealand consumers about facial recognition is the ability for cyber criminals to access or manipulate their facial recognition data and steal their identity (41 per cent).