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Amid COVID-19, New Zealanders Disregard Privacy Concerns For Convenience

Amid COVID-19, New Zealanders disregard privacy concerns for convenience – 1.2m affected by cybercrime, 600k by identity theft

Over a third of New Zealanders estimated to have experienced cyber crime in the past 12 months


  • More than half of New Zealand respondents (59 percent) have been a victim of cyber crime, with more than 1 in 3 (36 percent) having experienced cyber crime in the past 12 months (a directional increase on 33 percent in 2018).
  • About 1 in 6 New Zealand respondents (17 percent) have experienced identity theft, with 5 percent impacted in the past year alone.
  • 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 percent vs. 54 percent).
  • 2 in 3 Kiwis (67 percent) say they would not know what to do if they were to fall victim to ID theft, with the vast majority (85 percent) wishing they had more information on what to do if they did.
  • The majority of New Zealand adults (86 percent) believe consumers should always read companies’ privacy policies in full, but more than half of Kiwis rarely or never read privacy policies in full (56 percent).

New Zealanders losing both time and money as a result of cyber crime

The NortonLifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report has found that over 1.2 million New Zealanders (36 percent) are estimated to have experienced cyber crime in 2019. And nearly 5.4 million hours – or an average of 4.3 hours1 per victim – were spent resolving issues created by the crime.

Close to a third of New Zealand cyber crime victims (30 percent) were impacted financially with an estimated loss of 108 million NZD in the past year alone.

Over 605,000 New Zealand adults (17 percent) have experienced identity theft, with 5 percent impacted in 2019. Over half of Kiwis (56 percent), 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 percent.

Half of New Zealanders (50 percent) also feel they are well-protected against ID theft occurring, but two thirds (67 percent) say they would have no idea what to do if their identity were stolen and 85 percent wish they had more information on what to do if their identity were stolen.

“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 Mark Gorrie, Territory Manager and Cyber Security expert, APJ, NortonLifeLock.

Trust and distrust in our institutions

The report also found that distrust among New Zealand consumers towards social media providers outpaced the global average (54 percent do not trust at all vs. 43 percent global average). However, compared to those in other markets, more New Zealand respondents trust healthcare providers (94 percent trust a lot/a little vs. 89 percent global average) and the government (84 percent trust a lot/a little vs. 72 percent global average) when it comes to managing and protecting personal information.

Less than half of New Zealand consumers give credit to companies (40 percent) or the government (46 percent) for doing enough when it comes to data privacy and protection. And, almost half (46 percent) 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.

“Once enacted, 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 back 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.

Responsible for private information

New Zealanders are split on who should be held most responsible for ensuring personal information and data privacy are protected. Nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) believe the government should be held most responsible, while one-third (33 percent) put the burden on companies, followed closely by individual consumers (29 percent) who should be protecting their own data privacy by reading the policies and ensuring their personal information is shared only with companies they trust.

Interestingly, the majority of New Zealand adults (86 percent) believe consumers should always read companies’ privacy policies in full but a mere 2 percent report always doing so themselves. Only 9 percent say they do it often. In fact, New Zealanders are among the most likely to rarely/never read privacy policies (56 percent vs. 47 percent global average).

Most of the New Zealanders who don’t always read privacy policies in full say it’s because they are too confusing (80 percent vs. 73 percent global average) and they feel they have no choice but to accept the policies in order to use the app or service (86 percent vs. 78 percent global average). And 9 out of 10 (89 percent) 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; this is even more persuasive for adults in New Zealand than many other markets (82 percent global average).

Facial recognition familiarity

As security measures in public spaces increase, facial recognition technology is becoming more common place. New Zealand consumers are among the most familiar with facial recognition (64 percent vs. 52 percent global average), second only to India (70 percent) and on par with the United States (64 percent).

Despite familiarity with the technology, skepticism remains. The majority of New Zealand consumers (66 percent) believe facial recognition will be abused or misused in the next year – above the global average of 62 percent.

New Zealanders overwhelmingly believe businesses (93 percent) and the government (92 percent) should be required to inform and report where or when they are using facial recognition – well above the global averages (87 and 86 percent respectively). Specifically, the top concern2 among New Zealand consumers when it comes to facial recognition is the ability for cyber criminals to access and/or manipulate their facial recognition data and steal their identity (41 percent).

“The NortonLifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report brings to light the trends we’ve been seeing in New Zealand over the past year. People are becoming more aware of their presence online and the value of their personal data. It’s not enough to simply have anti-virus software installed on a laptop anymore. It’s critical that any cyber security plan designed to protect you and your family is comprehensive,” says Gorrie.

To learn more information on the real impact of cyber crime and how consumers can protect their privacy, identity, and digital information, visit here https://nz.norton.com/nortonlifelock-cyber-safety-report.


Editors notes:

1Average has been trimmed to remove outliers.

2Respondents were asked to select up to 2 concerns.

© Scoop Media

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