Trust in governments to use data responsibly in Australia has slightly dipped as people routinely use check-in apps during the pandemic, a new study shows.
Yet trust in institutions to maintain data privacy remains higher than what it was before COVID-19.
An Australian National University analysis that ranks people’s trust in institutions to keep their data private out of 10 saw results drop from 5.7 to 5.49 between May 2020 and August 2021.
Co-author Professor Nicholas Biddle said the study showed Australians were starting to get warier about how their private data from check-in apps might be used by major institutions.
“The organisations that experienced the biggest decrease in trust were the federal government, state and territory governments, social media companies and companies people used for online purchases,” Biddle said.
However, he pointed out trust had risen before the pandemic, with 2018 results showing Australians’ trust in institutions maintaining data privacy was 4.78.
The study of 3000 adults found 67% of women always used the check-in app compared with 56% of men, while vaccinated Australians were much more likely to use the apps.
It also found Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people born in a non-English speaking country were less likely to use check-in apps, while levels of education and geographic factors also played a role.
“The majority of Australians who expressed low trust in how institutions use their data, 54.2% said they always use check-in apps,” Biddle added.
“It shows that despite their concerns, many Australians are doing the right thing and what they have been asked to do by governments to help keep each other and their communities safe during the pandemic.”