Government apps among the least-trusted when it comes to protecting privacy

Trust in privacy practices of government, finance sector drops, 2019 Deloitte Australian Privacy Index reveals

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The 2019 Deloitte Australian Privacy Index reveals that consumers are far less inclined to trust apps produced by governments, financial institutions and the health sector compared to other sectors.

The index is based on a survey of 1000 consumers about the brands they trust the most and the least when it comes to protecting their privacy, as well as a Deloitte analysis of the privacy practices of branded mobile apps (the study only considered iOS apps).

The final index drew on the analysis, the consumer survey, as well as breach and complaints data published by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

The IT sector topped the index when it came to consumer trust, followed by real estate, and travel and transport.

Significant distrust for government-produced apps saw the sector come in at eight out 10 in the index — down from third in last year’s index. Finance was second-last at ninth (down from second), and health and fitness rounded out the bottom of the 10 sectors considered by the index (down two places from 2018).

Although financial services suffered the biggest drop, Deloitte said it was “still in positive territory”, which means meaning more consumers trust than distrust financial services brands when it comes to privacy

“Government has also had a significant drop in trust in privacy over this period, returning a near zero result in 2019, meaning there were as many consumers saying they trusted as well as distrusted government with their privacy,” the report notes.

The survey revealed that 65 per cent of consumers cited trust in a brand as their top consideration when deciding whether to grant an app permission to access personal information, Deloitte said.

The professional services firm also said that 89 per cent of consumers had at some point “denied an app access to their location, photos, and contacts, or features such as their mobile device’s camera or microphone, due to privacy concerns, which reduces the effectiveness of an app to deliver its best product or service.”

Deloitte also said that 63 per cent of consumers had deleted apps over privacy concerns.

“The findings highlight where brands need to fix their app’s privacy attributes, and what consumers expect, think and do about their privacy when using the app,” said David Batch, Deloitte’s national privacy and data protection lead and one of the authors of the index.

“We found significant differences in the maturity of privacy practices across brands and sectors and a growing consumer awareness of privacy, with a strong desire to take control of their data.”

“Apps have embedded themselves into our daily lives and as users we expect apps to be useful, easy to use, secure, and personal - not peppered with information or features we don’t want,” said Deloitte national cyber governance lead partner Tommy Viljoen.

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