British Columbians’ Views on Privacy and Privacy Rights

Fewer than half think existing laws and organizational practices provide sufficient protection of personal information

The author(s)

  • Catherine Knaus Director, Canada, Public Affairs
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Vancouver, British Columbia, June 4, 2020 — A new Ipsos poll for the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association finds that only 43% of British Columbians think existing laws and organizational practices provide sufficient protection of their personal information. Perceptions of transparency are even lower, with only one-third (33%) saying organizations are open and transparent about how they use and collect personal information.

  • Men (48% vs. 39% of women) and younger residents (50% of 18-34 years vs. 44% of 35-54 years, 38% of 55+ years) are more likely to believe existing laws and organizational practices provide sufficient protection of personal information.
  • Younger residents are also more likely to believe organizations are open and transparent about how they collect and use personal information (43% of 18-34 years vs. 28% of 35-54 years, 31% of 55+ years).

Overall, three-quarters (75%) of British Columbians say they are concerned (rating of 4 or 3 on a 4-point scale where 4 is very concerned and 1 is not concerned at all) about an organization transferring their personal information from BC to organizations outside of Canada.

  • Concern is higher among older residents (84% of 55+ years vs. 75% of 35-54 years, 61% of 18-34 years).

British Columbians believe information and resources on privacy and privacy rights should be included in public education, with a strong majority saying each of the following are important components of general public education (rating of 4 or 3 on a 4-point scale where 4 is very important and 1 is not important at all):

  • Resources for individuals regarding personal information and privacy rights (88%)
  • Resources for individuals learning about how to protect their personal information (87%)
  • Resources for individuals on obtaining help, information, and advice related to privacy (87%)
  • Targeted curriculum for post-secondary schools relating to privacy rights (78%)
  • Targeted curriculum for K-12 schools relating to privacy rights (75%)

Awareness of privacy rights and protections is low. Only one-third say they are aware of BC’s Personal Information Protection Act (32%), BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (31%), and that they can request access to their personal information from businesses (33%). Four-in-ten (40%) say they are aware of the right to file a complaint relating to the handling of their personal information. One-third (33%) of British Columbians say they are not aware of any of these privacy rights and protections.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between May 29 and June 1, 2020, on behalf of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association. For this survey, a sample of 802 British Columbians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the British Columbian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all British Columbians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this Factum, please contact:

Catherine Knaus

Director, Ipsos Public Affairs

+1 778 373-5131

catherine.knaus@ipsos.com

About Ipsos

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The author(s)

  • Catherine Knaus Director, Canada, Public Affairs

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