A tangled web: why online providers need to build trust

Graphic of person with key embedded in torso

Online providers that are clear about how that data will be used are more likely to win their customers’ trust and confidence. Australian consumers want to be told why online services need their personal information—before they share it.

That’s one of the key insights outlined in a new ACMA research reportSharing digital identityreleased this week as the second of three short reports discussing the findings of the Digital footprint and identities community attitudinal research.

Australians are more willing to disclose information where they see certain triggers for trust. These include:

  • knowing and trusting the organisation in the offline world
  • recognising an encryption symbol (like a padlock) or similar security assurance on the site
  • if the site looks professional
  • if the information required is seen as necessary and
  • if the site is based in Australia.

When people are unsure who they are dealing with, or why information is being requested, nearly half of those surveyed preferred to provide misleading or inaccurate personal details. They often make up something if a service they want requires this information. This potentially reduces the value and usefulness of online data collected about individual users.

The research suggests some key points for providers of online services and applications to consider when thinking about building trust with their customers:

  • consumers are more inclined to provide personal data if they know why it is needed
  • some people would prefer not to give their real name or other identifying details
  • consumers accept that data breaches commonly occur, and highly value a service provider being upfront about it.

Read the full reports at acma.gov.au