For the first time, we used YouTube to release some compelling research as part of our Unisys Security Index: Australia’s only regular snapshot of public attitudes to key security issues.
We’ve chose YouTube for a simple reason - our findings directly relate to online social networking which is enormously popular with users of YouTube. And the results we are releasing are surprising and even controversial.
In fact 83 per cent of Australians said they were uncomfortable providing key personal data online but the reality is that they are continuing to post this material despite their concern.
Our research partner Newspoll conducted a national survey. We wanted to know how comfortable people were posting a range of personal information online when social networking. The majority of people are clearly uncomfortable:
Our results are a clear message to the millions of online networking users. You are feeling uncomfortable because you know the risks and perhaps now is the time to start thinking about how to reduce those risks of ID theft and privacy invasion.
We have all seen the many stories in the media about online social networking when it goes wrong. For example:
These stories often highlight the little we all know about how best to ensure online security and privacy of information.
Yet despite these high profile cases, and the lack of comfort our research has identified, people continue to place large amounts of personal information on these sites without much regard for the privacy implications.
Why aren’t we taking the steps to modify our online behaviour in the full knowledge that the more information we place on line and the less discriminating we are, the greater the risk of exposure to ID theft and more?
There is a clear paradox here - we know we need to better protect our information yet, at the same time, we are becoming more liberal in the amount of data we release into a public domain.
The very essence of online social networking lays at the heart of this paradox, explained by Catherine Dwyer, a lecturer at New York's Pace University who specialises in social networking sites:
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