Net retailers least trusted in Australia

Internet retailers are the least trustworthy organisations when it comes to protecting our private information, according to research conducted on behalf of the Federal Privacy Commissioner in Australia.

SYDNEY (ZDNet Australia)--Internet retailers are the least trustworthy organisations when it comes to protecting our private information, according to research conducted on behalf of the Federal Privacy Commissioner.

Etailers, scoring 1.98 on a scale of five, were outranked only by estate agencies and market researchers. Health service providers were considered to be the most trustworthy type of organisation--scoring 4.16 out of five--followed by financial organisations, government agencies, charities and retailers.

”Organisations, be they on or off line, must attend to the privacy concerns of individuals,” said Federal Privacy Commissioner, Malcolm Crompton, commenting on the national Privacy and Business survey, carried out by Roy Morgan Research.

“As organisations seek increasingly intimate relationships with their customers, relationships that are dependent upon trust, privacy clearly becomes an imperative that no business can afford to ignore.”

When dealing over the Internet, 57 percent of people said they had more concerns about the security of their personal information, causing about one-third of Internet users to attempt to protect their privacy by setting their Web browser to reject cookies, according to the research. However, another third of Net surfers were unaware of cookies and what they did.

“Half of people take conscious action to turn cookies off,” Crompton said at the launch or the research findings. “Unfortunately, we’ll get strong community awareness of cookies just in time for it to become old technology.”

When asked their attitudes towards tracking users over the Internet without their knowledge, an overwhelming 90 percent of people thought this was an invasion of privacy, the research found. However, over one-quarter of respondents said seeing or reading a privacy policy on a Web site made them feel more positive about the site.

”Fulfilment is not the only issue why e-business is not taking off,” Crompton said. “Privacy is also an issue…Community awareness is increasing and people will take action to be private beings.”

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