How IT can help protect New Zealanders’ online data

People have been worn down by excessive data collection and unfriendly data access methods. It doesn’t have to be that way.

woman in yellow shirt screaming with frustration
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IT has the ability to help change how New Zealanders view the collection of their personal data online. That’s according to Digital Identity NZ Chief Executive Andrew Weaver, who says that the public have adopted a ‘begrudging acceptance’ when it comes to giving away their information.

In an online survey of 1,011 people released by Digital Identity NZ during Techweek in late July 2020, it found that 34% of respondents believe that businesses have the opportunity to deliver leadership in personal data use and protection. At the same time, there was a drop in the number of people who had made changes to how they use online services because of concerns around privacy and personal data use. For example, 29% made changes to the websites they visited in 2020, compared to 42% in 2019.

“From the raw reading of some of the results from the research, it almost looks like customer apathy, but as you push into that and look at some of the qualitative aspects of the interviews and the quotes given, it shows it’s not apathy. It’s that begrudging acceptance that comes from being worn down and not having better options presented to them,” Weaver says.

Weaver says IT has a role to play in helping organisations to improve the experience for New Zealand consumers. While IT is generally responsible for data security, it can also play an active role in ensuring data privacy too.

“There is that opportunity to bring that voice when it comes to the custodian and management of data and personal information in particular. Having that different perspective coming in, that has a deeper technical understanding as well as the integrity to call out poor behaviour in terms of the potential exploitation of that data,” Weaver says.

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