Aussies are more concerned than ever about their privacy after an onslaught of scams, data breaches and new technologies pushed privacy into the spotlight.
A new report by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner found that just under half of Australians surveyed were affected by a data breach in the previous year, and three-quarters experienced harm as a result.
More control and choice
High-profile cybersecurity breaches at Optus and Medibank have eroded trust in how institutions and businesses use private data, according to the study.
A majority said they want more control and choice over the collection of their personal information as scams proliferate through the community.
"Not only is good privacy practice the right thing to do and what the community expects, it is a precondition for the success of an innovative economy and gaining Australians' trust and confidence," Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said.
She said privacy played a key role in our sense of control and autonomy, human dignity and freedom.
Aussies unaware of how to protect privacy
Almost all Australians think they should have additional rights under the Australian Privacy Act, include the right to ask a business to delete their personal information, know when their personal information is used in automated decision-making if it could affect them and seek compensation in the courts for a breach of privacy.
"Providing Australians with the right information and offering real privacy choices will empower them to protect their privacy," Ms Falk said.
Despite heightened concern around privacy, there is limited knowledge of what to do about it amongst the community.
Only 21 per cent say their privacy knowledge is 'very good' or 'excellent', and 57 per cent say they care about their data privacy, but do not know what to do about it.
In April, the ACCC warned that Australians were losing life savings to scammers impersonating banks.
People handed over personal data after calls appearing to come from a bank's legitimate phone number or texts that appeared in the same conversation thread as genuine bank messages.
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The findings of the report will be used to inform the review of the Privacy Act.