Privacy and digital security

About this research

This research investigated customers’ views (both consumers and businesses) on privacy and digital security. 

There were 23 NSW Government services in scope, including public schools, hospitals, car registration and art galleries (see the full list of services). 

The insights below are from:

  • a quantitative survey completed by 1047 consumers and 255 businesses in October and November 2016
  • qualitative research conducted during 3 120-minute focus groups, held in the Sydney CBD and Parramatta from November to December 2016, with 15 consumers and 7 business respondents.

Respondents were recruited based on a mix of age, gender, location, and experience.

Statements marked by quotation marks indicate verbatim comments from respondents.

Understanding usage and trust level of various digital services

Of the digital services tested, online banking and frequent flyer services (for example, Qantas) are the top two most trusted digital services when it comes to protecting and safeguarding personal information, whilst transport booking accounts (for example, Uber) and social media are least trusted by customers.

High level of usage was recorded for online banking among customers (80 per cent for consumers and 92 per cent for businesses), this was followed by social media (70 per cent for consumers and 67 per cent for businesses) although social media was least trusted by customers.

Usage of digital services

Types of digital services Consumers Businesses
Online banking account 80% 92%
Frequent flyer account 59% 67%
Online store account 32% 40%
Transport booking account 21% 22%
Social media account 70% 67%

Understanding attitudes towards privacy and data security

Agreement with privacy statements (1 to 10)

Privacy statements Consumers Businesses
I trust my personal data is well protected by the NSW Government 5.8 5.9
I feel comfortable using online services knowing that the NSW Government will collect information about me 5.7 5.7
I am comfortable with the NSW Government storing my personal information 5.6 5.5
I understand how my personal information is being used by the NSW Government 5.1 5.1

Customers have only moderate trust that their personal information is well protected by the NSW Government. They have a low to moderate understanding of how their personal information is being used.

Sensitivity of personal information

Consumers, in general, were more comfortable with sharing demographic and contact information with NSW Government services, but are less comfortable with sharing personal finances and behavioural information like web browsing history and purchase history.

Understanding how their data will be used by the NSW Government is a key consideration for customers when ranking their level of comfort to share personal information.

Feedback included:

  • I dont want the Government to monitor me.”
  • “The Government generates this information, I don’t care if it is shared.”

Online risks respondents most concerned with

Online risks Consumers Businesses
Identity theft 38% 37%
Identity fraud 26% 30%
Cyber attack 20% 11%
Email phishing 9% 13%
Email spam 8% 10%

Consumers and businesses were most concerned about identity theft and identity fraud when using online NSW Government services.

Customer views of online access

A single log in

Customers considered mechanisms where a single log in to:

  • the NSW Government can provide access to services across different levels of government
  • the NSW Government can provide access to NSW Government services
  • the NSW Government can provide access to conduct personal business
  • a private entity can provide access to NSW Government services.

Both consumers and businesses were much more receptive to single log in that only involves the government as opposed to permitting private entities to manage access or to link services.

Qualitative research suggests that interest in a single log in is driven by both the level of trust with data protection and data usage.   

Customers did not see major differences between local, state and federal governments. Most customers preferred a single government log in where they can access all levels of government. However, some customers preferred a single log in to the NSW Government that can access NSW State Government services. These customers were concerned that personal information may be compromised if data is being shared between local, state and federal governments.

Businesses were more receptive to single a log in that could be used to access services provided by private entities. However, most businesses who were interested in the concept were concerned about private entities gaining access to their personal information. All businesses agreed that further clarification would be required to make this concept more appealing.

Feedback included:

  • “The Government is accountable. Private entities are not accountable. Trust is paramount.”
  • “The bigger [sharing] it becomes, the more naked you feel.”
  • “Private entities are there to profit off you, whereas government is there to serve you.”

Among consumers, more males than females were interested in the single log in. Younger people and people that live in metro areas were more receptive to single log in that involves both the government and private entities. Larger businesses are more interested in single log in than smaller businesses.

Mobile app preference

Consumers and businesses preferred a single mobile app to access multiple NSW Government services compared with multiple product-specific access channels. Preferences did not vary when results were broken down by gender, age or region for consumers. Larger businesses preferred a single mobile app more than smaller businesses. 

Qualitative research suggests that customers who prefer a single mobile app are driven by convenience, where they could access multiple services through one app with one log in.  However, some customers were concerned that such an app would be complex to use.

Those who prefer multiple apps were driven by relevancy, meaning they did not see the need to access all services and multiple applications would allow them to pick and choose based on their needs. 

A few customers felt they would have more control over what information they share, and who they share it with, when using multiple apps.

Customers did not want all NSW Government services built into an app but only the services that are easier to interact with when on the go.

Some older customers did not use apps on their smartphone. They preferred to use the computer as more information is displayed on one screen.

Feedback included:

  • “One app. I don’t like downloading multiple apps.”
  • “I would prefer multiple apps, as long as the user interface is similar across all government services.”

Interest in creating a digital identity

Around half of customers (44 per cent of consumers and 51 per cent of businesses) were interested in the concept of creating a digital identity with the NSW Government after considering the benefits and risks involved.  Consumers that were more receptive to creating a digital identity were generally male, under 45 years of age and lived in a metro area. 

Most customers associated the concept of digital identity to their experiences with myGov, and some customers expressed that their experience with myGov has not been satisfactory. Some customers identified having a positive experience when using Service NSW.

Those who were not interested in the concept expressed concerns about online risks such as identity fraud and theft.

Customers believed that a marketing campaign is needed to communicate the benefits of creating a digital identity with the NSW Government and provide assurance that the platform is secure.

Feedback included:

  • “myGov is not as streamlined as you want it, but it is low effort.”
  • “I want a marketing campaign that communicates the benefits and safety [of my data].”