Consumer privacy in Australia – drawing the line

Consumer privacy in Australia – drawing the line

People are increasingly aware that organisations are collecting, using, retaining and disclosing their information, including buying and selling it. And they are growing uneasy: when does ‘helpfully close’ cross the line to become ‘creepy and intrusive’?

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Companies know more about their consumers than ever before

The digital economy has allowed organisations to collect more information about their customers than ever before. Consumers benefit from this closeness by receiving an easier, better, and more customised experience.

But while consumers understand their data is being collected and the organisations they deal with on a daily basis are potentially using it in a number of unknown ways, indiscriminate personal data collection risks alienating consumers and 'creeping them out'.

KPMG asked 500 consumers a series of questions to understand in what circumstances they felt comfortable or uneasy about the use of their personal data – to discover where Australians would ‘draw the line’ on what they consider acceptable or unacceptable when it comes to handling and use of their data.

This survey is part of a wider study titled: Crossing the line – staying on the right side of consumer privacy, where KPMG surveyed 7,000 consumers in 24 countries to investigate what would be considered appropriate handling and use of data.

A guide for organisations to navigate consumer sensitivities

Understanding consumers’ sensitivities around the use of their personal data is central to establishing and maintaining trust between consumer and company.
  • Almost a quarter of Australians are extremely concerned about how companies handle and use personal data.
  • Organisations can best assure Australians they can be trusted with their personal data if they demonstrate strong cyber security systems, tell them what they intend to do with the data or assure them data won’t be shared with third parties.
  • While six in ten Australians expect less online privacy in a decade, just one in six expects more.
  • Australians read some of the online privacy policies they encounter and over 90 percent take steps to protect themselves online.
  • The ideas Australians find least acceptable are: sale of data to third parties, applications (apps) that access personal data, personalised billboards based on previous purchase behaviour, personalised ads based on emails, and companies contacting people based on location and previous use.

Adapt to survive

For companies seeking to use consumer data to personalise their marketing and services to the individual, build brand loyalty and develop better products, it is important they understand that although opinions on privacy vary around the globe, it is clear that, more than anything, consumers value privacy over convenience.

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