Study: New Zealanders Avoid Online Dating due to Privacy Concerns

A new study conducted by The Office of the Privacy Commissioner in New Zealand has revealed how concerns about privacy are leading citizens to avoid certain online activities. 28% of New Zealanders said they are avoiding online dating due to this specific issue.

To mark its annual Privacy Week, The Office of the Privacy Commissioner published a new survey of nearly 1200 New Zealanders, including over 320 Māori. This research found that concerns about privacy have increased over the past few years.

When asked whether in the last 12 months they had avoided doing specific activities because of privacy concerns, respondents shared:

  • 28% avoided online dating
  • 33% avoided social media
  • 28% avoided online browsing
  • 28% avoided online shopping

Interestingly, when looking at the responses among Māori citizens, the percentage of those who’ve avoided online dating increases to 41%.

The source of these concerns

The research asked New Zealanders what circumstances in particular they are most concerned about, when it comes to their online privacy. The leading issues the respondents identified were:

  • 67% said businesses or government organisations sharing their personal information without telling them
  • 66% said the the public and private sectors using artificial intelligence to make decisions about them, using their personal information
  • 65% said organisations losing their personal information in a cyber-attack 

“These results paint a picture of the current state of privacy in New Zealand and shows to me that Kiwis aren’t as complacent as our well-advertised ‘she’ll be right’ attitude might indicate”, said Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster.

The office also highlighted that 64% of respondents admitted they were very concerned about not being told about or agreeing to the use of Facial Recognition Technology.

Next steps

Looking ahead, respondents shared their perspective on the ideal next steps. For example, 80% said they want more control and choice over the collection and use of their personal information.

Furthemore, 83% said they want to know when their personal information is used in automated decision-making. And 82% said that they want the right to ask a business to delete their personal information.

Read the full report from New Zealand’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner here.

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