June 12, 2014 3:45 pm

Canadians value online privacy, but aren’t proactive in protecting themselves

Nico De Pasquale Photography/Flickr

TORONTO – When it comes to their online lives, Canadians believe they have a right to privacy – but according to a new report, they aren’t taking steps to protect their personal information.

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Canadians are less likely than their global counterparts to trade privacy for online convenience, according to a new report from IT solutions provider EMC. The report surveyed 15,000 web users from 15 different countries to measure how people valued online privacy.

Canadians were the second-least likely to say that they’d be willing to trade some of their privacy for “easier access to information and knowledge.”

“Generally as a country we’ve been very leery of letting anything out of our country when it comes to data,” said EMC Canada’s Michael Sharun. “But the news surrounding retail companies who have had their data sabotaged and leaked has raised the awareness of Canadians.”

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Surprisingly, 56 per cent of Canadians had been personally affected by a data breach – two per cent higher than the global average.

READ MORE: Cybercrime costs global economy $445 billion a year: report

But the data also showed that Canadians aren’t doing enough to protect their information online.

Despite more than half of respondents being affected by a data breach, only 31 per cent said they change their passwords regularly.

One in three admitted they didn’t worry about changing their privacy settings when joining social networks, which was in line with the global average.

And only 58 per cent said they put passwords on their smartphone or tablet.

Sharun said that despite our heightened awareness of cyber security issues, most web users still don’t feel the onus is on them to take steps to protect their information.

“We think that someone else is going to do that for us – that it’s someone else’s responsibly,” he said.

“If I put my consumer hat on, I always think that whatever I’m doing is going to be looked after by government legislation or by the business I’m doing business with. I don’t think the onus is on me.”

An overwhelming majority of Canadians, 92 per cent, said they believed it should be against the law for Internet companies to sell their data without opt-in consent, while the global average was slightly lower at 87 per cent.

Overall, the majority of the report’s respondents said they were unsatisfied with their government’s efforts to keep their information safe.

Sharun said the report shows that users, businesses and governments need to work together to protect each other against data breaches.

Courtesy of EMC Canada

- With files from The Canadian Press

© Shaw Media, 2014

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