Policy report

Key points:

  • The public typically trusts governments to protect personal data more than they trust the private sector. Social media companies are among the least trusted.
  • In response to changes in technologies, attitudes towards privacy are changing. A traditional focus on secrecy is giving way to a focus on control of information and maintaining dignity.
  • People are generally happy to share information, and for organisations to do more with the information they hold, provided this occurs in a way that maintains trust.
  • Privacy concerns are not just about potential harms, but also potential inequalities and injustices where information is used differently to why it was collected.
  • Organisations can build trust by giving individuals control over their information (where possible), providing clarity about how they use information, assuring people that it is treated with care, and demonstrating competence in what they do.

Policy recommendations:

  • To build trust, government departments should communicate consistently how they use and protect personal information, rather than simply state that they comply with legislation.
  • Departments can increase data-sharing while maintaining trust, provided they focus on the purpose for which information was originally collected.
  • Where possible, departments should use analytic tools that allow automated extraction and sharing of relevant data and reports, rather than entire data sets
Publication Details
License type:
All Rights Reserved
Access Rights Type:
National Security College Policy Options Paper no.10