When organizations create online privacy policies they have to first follow the legislative and regulatory rules that apply to them. There’s also the concern to the corporate brand should there be a data leak. Beyond that they also should consider the attitudes of their customers towards privacy. A recent international privacy survey by storage vendor EMC of 15,000 consumers in 15 countries, including Canada, holds interesting results. All images from Shutterstock.com

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No trade

Of the 15 countries studied, Canadians ranked just above the bottom –14th — in their willingness to trade online privacy for greater convenient experience, when scored on a number of survey questions. We had an index of 39; Indians were the most willing to trade in their privacy for better services, with a score of 61. Americans scored 41. The Germans were least likely.

 

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It depends

This varied by what people do online. For example, almost half of Canadians (45 per cent) were willing to trade privacy for convenience interacting online with government. From that point it goes down when dealing with medical information, financial, employers, retailers and inter-personal communications (15 per cent.)

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Iffy on confidence in organizations

Roughly speaking we feel the same way about organizations as the other countries surveyed: 59 per cent of Canadians are confident in organizations’ skills in protecting privacy, but just under half are as confident in the privacy ethics of organizations. Again, this varies by sector — the most confidence is in the financial and medical industries, the least in social networks.

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Low confidence in online privacy

Overall confidence in privacy is low: 92 per cent of Canadians (compared to 87 per cent globally) believe it should be illegal for companies to buy and sell data without an ‘op-in’ consent by consumers. Note that 64 per cent of Canadians (59 per cent globally) believe they have less online privacy now than they did a year ago. 85 per cent believe online privacy will be more difficult to maintain in the next five years.

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We have no secrets

In Canada 56 per cent of respondents said they have experienced a data breach, yet 69 per cent don’t change passwords regularly, 42 per cent don’t have password protection on mobile devices and 32 per cent don’t customize privacy settings on social networks.


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Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com