Computerworld

Survey shows Kiwis concerned about identity online

Digital Identity New Zealand releases survey results

Seventy nine percent of New Zealanders are concerned about the protection of their identity and use of personal data by organisations, according to a survey commissioned by Digital Identity New Zealand (DINZ), a member of the NZ Tech Alliance.

Just over 1000 people were surveyed online. Seventy three percent of respondents also claimed to have made a change to their online behaviour because of privacy concern, and seventy percent said it was too hard to protect their identity and data online.

Eighty five percent of respondents said there was a lack of transparency, and expressed concern about having to share data with so many organisations.

DINZ executive director Andrew Weaver, said ninety percent of New Zealanders wanted more control of their digital identity.

“There is wide appeal for more permissions over how organisations access their identity data, and the choice to view and manage this in one secure place,” he said.

He said there was a need for education and knowledge around personal identity. “There is generally low understanding around how to protect personal information and data by New Zealanders and a general perception by 68 percent of those surveyed that doing so is difficult right now.

“Digital Identity NZ wants New Zealand to be a country where everyone can fully participate in society by confidentially expressing their digital identity.

He said the company that conducted the survey, Yabble, had been contracted to undertake further research focusing on the emerging concept of self-sovereign identity.

“At its core, self-sovereign identity is about giving individuals, who are the true owners of personal data, secure and simple to use ways of ‘doing business’ online, without sacrificing their privacy,” Weaver said.

“We want to bridge the gap and empower the 54 percent of Kiwis who currently don’t know what to do to protect themselves.”

Issues relating to digital identity will be discussed at the Identity Conference 2019 in Wellington in August,  organised by DINZ, Victoria University of Wellington, the Department of Internal Affairs – Te Tari Taiwhenua and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Digital Identity Initiatives

The end of 2018 saw a flurry of activity in digital identity in New Zealand.

In December 2018 the Government committed $5.15m to funding research into digital identity over two years, to be led by the Department of Internal Affairs.

It said the research would look at how government could set up the right rules and environment, and take advantage of new technologies, to meet the evolving needs and expectations of citizens.

That move followed NZ Tech’s announcement of the formation of DINZ a week earlier and news from Spark that it had become a founding steward of the Sovrin Network, a non-profit organisation that aims to give every person, organisation, and thing the ability to own and control their own permanent digital identity using distributed ledger technology.

Also in December 2018 SingleSource, a startup that has developed a decentralised risk scoring and identity protocol based on blockchain, announced it had secured a $318,000 Callaghan Innovation R&D grant to advance its decentralised digital identity and risk-scoring platform.