Control is top of mind for Canadians when it comes to online personal information, according to new Data Privacy Week poll - January 31, 2023

Control is top of mind for Canadians when it comes to online personal information, according to new Data Privacy Week poll

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Company: Interac Corp.

Canadians are concerned with the lack of control they have over their personal information online. According to a new survey from Interac Corp., published during Data Privacy Week, nearly eight in 10 Canadians (76 per cent) are worried about protecting their online privacy, and seven in 10 (74 per cent) want more control over their online information.

The Interac survey identifies sign-in – the act of verifying your identity to access online services or activities – as a critical moment for organizations to build trust with their customers by giving them more control over their personal information. Over half of Canadians (53 per cent) believe organizations are primarily responsible for protecting their personal information, and nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) would hold them accountable in the event of a data breach. Nevertheless, Canadians continue to sign in through services in which they report low levels of trust and confidence. For example, while six in 10 Canadians (58 per cent) say they use their social media accounts to log in to other online services, only one in 10 (11 per cent) trust these accounts to store their personal information.  

“When customers sign in to an online service, they are putting their trust in that provider to keep their data safe,” said Colette Stewart, Senior Legal Counsel and Privacy Lead at Interac. “As Canadians hold organizations accountable for the use and storage of data, entities of all sizes have an imperative to provide clear guidelines on how personal information will be used and to enable increased control for users when it comes to managing their privacy online.”

With nearly seven in 10 Canadians (69 per cent) expecting to be able to access all government services online, there is a need for authentication options in both the public and private sector that protect personal information. This includes sign-in and verification solutions that leverage existing trusted credentials such as those held by financial institutions. Almost half of Canadians (49 per cent) support using their financial institution login details to verify their identity during the sign-in process, with nearly the same amount (50 per cent) reporting that it’s tedious to set up a new username and password to access online services.

“Canadians want to be squarely in control of their personal information, including who can access it and when,” said Giles Sutherland, Vice President of Business Development, Verification at Interac. “This is core to our philosophy and our approach to authenticating payments. Now, when Canadians verify themselves with Interac verification services, they benefit from security, convenience and control built from years of experience in delivering authentication for governments and businesses across Canada.”

This Data Privacy Week, Interac encourages Canadian consumers, business, and governments to learn more about data privacy.

Further key findings from the Interac survey include:

  • Canadians concerned about use of data: Seven in ten Canadians (69 per cent) worry about how their personal information is being sold or transferred without their consent, highlighting the degree to which Canadians want more control over how organizations use this information. Only six per cent of Canadians feel their personal information is being used for its intended purpose, while most feel it’s being used for nefarious reasons such as tracking their location (58 per cent), manipulating their beliefs (32 per cent), and stealing their identity (31 per cent).
  • Risky behaviours put data at risk: While results indicate that most Canadians (78 per cent) are engaging in some good behaviors to safeguard their personal information, other habits persist. Nearly half of Canadians (49 per cent) have not changed their email password in the past year, while more than half (55 per cent) have used the same passwords across multiple websites.
  • Not all sign-in methods are created equally: Only one per cent of Canadians found login credentials for social media accounts as the most secure way to sign in to online services. While many Canadians would be supportive of using their bank login to verify their identity when signing in to other services, only about two in five Canadians (37 per cent) have heard of using financial institution credentials to verify one’s identity during sign-in. This figure suggests Canadians would benefit from more education on the role trusted credentials can play during sign-in.
  • Education needed to protect Canadians: Seven in ten Canadians (69 per cent) would like more information to be readily available on how they can protect their personal information online. Additionally, only 33 per cent of respondents claimed to know what to do next if their personal information or data has been stolen online. For more information on how to protect personal data, Interac encourages Canadians to visit In The Know.

About the Survey

Hill+Knowlton Strategies used the Leger Opinion online panel to survey 1,500 Canadians over the period of January 3rd to 6th, 2023. Sampling was done within age, gender, and region quotas. The length of survey was 10 minutes. Data was weighted on age, gender, and region according to 2016 census figures. An associated margin of error for a randomly selected sample of n=1,500 would be ±2.5%, 19 times out of 20. 

About Interac Corp.

Interac empowers Canadians to transact digitally with confidence by providing payment and value exchange services. In helping to develop the future of money, data, and verification in Canada, security is the core of everything we do. Through our privacy, fraud mitigation, governance, and verification and authentication services, we help keep Canadian customers safe and secure when transacting. With nearly 300 financial institutions connected to our network, Canadians choose Interac products over 20 million times a day on average to exchange money. Interac champions workplace culture and corporate citizenship based on the principles of responsibility, diversity and inclusion. We are proud to be one of Canada’s leading and most trusted financial brands. For more information, visit our website.

For further information: Media Contact: Interac Corp., 416-869-2017,  [email protected]

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