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New Digital Identity NZ Research Highlights Work Required To Improve Care Of Personal Information

Finding from 2020 Trust and Identity Research.

Two thirds of New Zealanders are now more likely to go online rather than face to face, yet a staggering 90% find it difficult or are unsure how to protect their personal information and identity data. A new research survey has found that there is a growing awareness of the way in which our personal information is harvested and used by organisations and technology providers, coupled with a high degree of anger and disappointment about the widespread sale and sharing of that information.

The 2020 Trust and Identity research was conducted by Yabble and commissioned by Digital Identity NZ, in partnership with InternetNZ and the Digital Council of Aotearoa, with support from Middleware NZ, ASB, Department of Internal Affairs, Payments NZ, P^werFinance, Tradewindow and 2 Shakes.

Marianne Elliott is one of seven members of the Digital Council. She says, "the goal of the Digital Council is to help us all use digital and data-driven technologies in ways that increase equity, inclusion and well-being in New Zealand. We do this by advising government, drawing on research evidence and other data. This latest digital identity research will make a significant contribution to our work and what we do.”

People in Aotearoa are taking a stronger stance on businesses being responsible for protecting personal data and using it responsibly, in addition to taking personal ownership themselves. 34% of respondents believe that businesses must take greater responsibility, up from 29% in 2019.

There is begrudging acceptance of the collection of our personal data online, “It’s like there is no point to change too much – it is what it is – when I go online I am automatically giving something away – I don’t like it... but it happens .”

Andrew Weaver, Executive Director of Digital Identity NZ, states that “as organisations we have done an excellent job in raising awareness of some of the risks and challenges associated with our highly connected world, yet we are placing too heavy a burden on people to protect themselves without adjusting our systems and processes to make it easier for them to understand and take action.”

He quotes Maya Angelou to put the challenge to organisations and technology providers, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” He goes on to say, “Identity is taonga, it is a treasure worthy of dignity, respect and care. This places a great deal of responsibility on organisations as kaitiaki/custodians of identity and personal information, and as this research shows our call to action is to ‘do better’ when it comes to how that information is cared for. One participant said, ‘I don’t know where to start when it comes to protecting myself...it is just too hard.’ We must increase transparency, provide meaningful privacy controls and simple, straightforward policies and technology that make it easier for people to take meaningful action.”

As part of Techweek2020, Digital Identity NZ will discuss this research and the concept of Identity as Taonga in an episode of Techweek TV on Thursday 30 July at 4:30pm. A further episode will present additional findings on digital equality on Friday 31 July at 12:00pm. The episodes can be streamed online at https://techweek.co.nz/techweek-tv/

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