The Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey (ACAPS) is a long-standing study to evaluate awareness, understanding, behaviour and concerns about privacy. The research was first conducted in 1990, and took on its current form in 2001.

It provides longitudinal information on the attitudes Australians hold regarding key privacy issues, their experiences and perspectives towards misuse of personal data, as well as actions taken to protect their privacy.

Survey highlights:

  • The biggest privacy risks identified by Australians in 2020 are identify theft and fraud (76%), data security and breaches (61%), and digital services, including social media sites (58%)
  • Most Australians believe they should have the right to ask a business to delete their personal information (84%) and to seek compensation in the courts for a breach of privacy (78%)
  • Actions taken to protect privacy are also changing: while people are less likely to always or often adjust privacy settings on a social networking site (down 9% since 2017 to 46%) or check websites are secure before sharing personal information (down 6% to 56%), more Australians always or often refuse to provide personal information (up 6% to 34%), while 7 in 10 have deleted an app and/or denied it permission to access information due to privacy concerns
  • Since 2007, there has been a general downward trend in trust in personal information handling, including in companies in general (down by 13%) and in Federal Government departments (down 14%)
  • 24% feel the privacy of their personal information is well protected, while 40% feel it is poorly protected, and 83% would like the government to do more to protect the privacy of their data
  • Australians are more likely to trust a website or service if they have read the privacy policy, but only 20% read privacy policies and are confident they understand them
  • Australian parents give their children access to connected devices and digital services early in life and are uncomfortable with businesses tracking the location of a child without permission (70%) or obtaining personal information about a child and selling it to third parties (69%)
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