About 52 percent of Canadians willing to share personal data for better services: report

The report found a drop in Canadians’ willingness to disclose personal information for free online services

Around 52 percent of Canadians say they are willing to share their personal data in exchange for better products or services, with the exception of online banking.

This statistic comes from CIRA’s latest report about Canadians’ attitudes about internet issues. In its report from 2019, CIRA found that 72 percent of Canadians said they were willing to disclose a little personal information for better value.

A year later, there has been a significant drop in Canadians’ willingness to disclose personal information, likely due to heightened privacy concerns.

The report found that 83 percent of respondents believe it is important for government data, including the personal information of Canadians, to be stored and transmitted in Canada only. Further, around 70 percent are concerned about potential cybersecurity risks from foreign-owned network technologies like Huawei.

In terms of tech hardware, 74 percent of respondents have privacy or security concerns related to connected-home devices like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, and a mere 30 percent actually have a voice-activated connected-home device.

cira chart

The notes that 82 percent of Canadians support a change in the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s legal authority that would give it powers to issue fines for companies who fail to comply with privacy law. This is interesting because the Competition Bureau recently fined Facebook $9 million CAD for misleading Canadians on its security practices.

The report also looked into fake news, and found that 54 percent of Canadians indicate that they likely came across fake news stories about Canadian politics during the federal election last year.

Further, 80 percent believe the government should attempt to control the spread of fake news by imposing fines or other sanctions on social media companies that do not act to remove it from their platforms.

Interestingly, a large portion of Canadians would be content with the use of AI (artificial intelligence) in some cases. For instance, 56 percent support the use of AI to block illegal content online, while 42 percent support the use of it to screen passengers at airports.

Half of respondents are in favour of the use of facial recognition by government agencies, and 47 percent support its use by banks.

“COVID-19 has shown us that going ‘off the grid’ is no longer an option; digital forces are knocking on the front doors of our homes through new smart, internet-enabled technologies and digital surveillance tools. But I’m optimistic that the entire sector can work together and strike the right balance,” Byron Holland, the president and CEO of CIRA, said in a press release.

CIRA conducted this report by surveying 1,254 Canadian internet users between January 8-10th. The total sample is proportionate to population, by gender, age and region.

Update 05/29/2020: The language in the story has been updated.

Image credit: CIRA

Source: CIRA