Public opinion survey

2016 Survey of Canadians on Privacy

Final Report

Prepared for: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada by Phoenix Strategic Perspectives Inc.

December 2016


List of Figures

 

Executive Summary

Phoenix Strategic Perspectives Inc. (Phoenix) was commissioned by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) to conduct a telephone survey of Canadians on privacy-related issues.

1. Background and Objectives

The OPC is an advocate for the privacy rights of Canadians, with the powers to investigate complaints and conduct audits under two federal laws; publish information about personal information-handling practices in the public and private sectors; and conduct research into privacy issues.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman and guardian of privacy in Canada.  The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) oversees compliance with the Privacy Act, which covers the personal information-handling practices of federal government departments and agencies, and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada’s federal private-sector privacy law.

Given its mandate, the OPC needs to understand the extent to which Canadians are aware of and understand their privacy rights and various privacy issues. For this reason, the OPC conducts quantitative public opinion research with the general population every two years. This year’s research was designed to explore privacy issues that fall under the OPC’s four strategic privacy priorities:

  • Economics of personal information;
  • Government surveillance;
  • Reputation and privacy; and
  • The body as information.

These priorities were established in 2015 to focus the OPC’s efforts and direct discretionary resource allocation decisions in order to increase its chances of making a real difference for Canadians.

The main objective of the research was to explore Canadians’ awareness, understanding and perceptions of privacy-related issues. The findings will be used to inform and guide OPC’s outreach efforts to Canadians.

2. Methodology

A 15-minute random digit dialling (RDD) telephone survey was administered to 1,500 Canadian residents, 16 years of age or older between October 13th and November 3rd, 2016. An overlapping dual-frame (landline and cell phone) sample was used to minimize coverage error. Interviewing was conducted by Elemental Data Collection Inc. (EDCI) using Computer Aided Telephone Interviewing (CATI) technology.

A total of 600 interviews were completed with cell phone only (CPO) households from the cell phone sample and 900 interviews with households from the landline sample. The sample frame was geographically disproportionate to improve the accuracy of regional results.

Table 1: Completed interviews by region
Strata Completed Interviews
Atlantic 200
Quebec 350
Ontario 400
Prairies (and Nunavut and the Northwest Territories) 350
British Columbia (and the Yukon Territory) 200
Total 1,500

Based on a sample of this size, the overall results can be considered to be accurate within ±2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error is greater for results pertaining to subgroups of the total sample. The results of the survey can be considered representative of the population of Canadians aged 16 and older.

Survey data has been weighted by region, age and gender to ensure results that are representative of the Canadian population. Population figures from Statistics Canada – 2011 Census were used to construct the weights.

The table below presents information about the final call dispositions for this survey, as well as the associated response rates (using the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association [MRIA] formulaFootnote 1). The overall response rate was 9% (11% for the landline sample and 7% for the cell phone sample).

Table 2: Final call dispositions
Disposition Total Landline Cell
Total Numbers Attempted 49,416 11,653 37,763
Out-of-scope - Invalid 32,504 3,780 28,724
Unresolved (U) 4,635 1,486 3,149
No answer/Answering machine 4,635 1,486 3,149
In-scope - Non-responding (IS) 12,277 6,387 5,890
Language barrier 393 215 178
Incapable of completing (ill/deceased) 116 98 18
Callback (Respondent not available) 2,026 684 1,342
Refusal 9,486 5,251 4,235
Termination 256 139 117
In-scope - Responding units (R) 1,592 934 658
Completed Interview 1,500 900 600
NQ - Age 76 31 45
NQ - Industry 16 3 13
Response Rate 9% 11% 7%

The potential for non-response bias was assessed by comparing the characteristics of respondents through unweighted and weighted data. As is generally the case for general population telephone surveys, older individuals (those aged 55+) were overrepresented in the final survey sample and younger individuals (in particular those under 25) were underrepresented. This was corrected with weighting.

3. Key Findings

Canadians view themselves as knowledgeable about their privacy rights and are increasingly concerned about privacy protection.

Two-thirds of Canadians rated their knowledge of their privacy rights as good (49%) or very good (16%). Conversely, fewer than one in five said their knowledge is poor (15%) or very poor (3%). When asked if they think they have enough information to understand how new technologies might affect their personal privacy, half of Canadians (52%) said they feel they have sufficient knowledge (up from 43% in 2014). This is the highest reported level of confidence in over a decade.

While Canadians feel knowledgeable about their privacy rights and the threat presented by new technologies, the majority (92%) expressed some level of concern about the protection of their privacy. Among those concerned, almost two-fifths (37%) are extremely concerned about the protection of their privacy (up from the 34% in 2014 and 25% in 2012). In addition, three-quarters (74%) of Canadians think they have less protection of their personal information in their daily lives now than they did ten years ago and almost half (48%) of Canadians feel they cannot control how their personal information is collected or used by organizations.

The majority of Canadians are concerned about how their online personal information could be used by organizations. In addition, most mobile device users take precautions to protect their personal information.

Most Canadians who use the Internet are concerned about how their online personal information could be used by organizations. More than four in five Internet users expressed some level of concern about the different ways the information available about them online might be used by organizations. Concern about personal information being used by companies to make decisions about them, such as determining insurance or health coverage, was highest, with 46% expressing strong concern. Following this, 43% are very concerned about their online personal information being used by marketing companies to analyze their likes and dislikes and 39% are very concerned about their online personal information being used to assess their suitability for a job or promotion.

Underscoring Canadians’ concern about protecting their online personal information, 86% of Internet users agreed that websites should ask for their consent before using information about their Internet browsing activities for targeted online advertising. In addition, seven in ten online Canadians (69%) said that targeted online ads make them feel like they have less privacy online.

Most Canadians who use a mobile device take measures to protect themselves. The proportion of mobile device users who have adjusted their device settings to limit the amount of personal information that is shared has steadily increased over time, from 40% in 2011 to a high of 76% this year. In addition, roughly four in five (82%) said they will uninstall or not install an app based on the personal information it is asking to access (up from 75% in 2014 and 55% in 2012). That said, only 41% of mobile device users said they read the privacy policies of apps before they download them.

Canadians are concerned about their online reputation, but few have been affected negatively by online posts.

Eighty-two percent of Canadians expressed at least some concern about the potential risk of having their photos or posts living forever online and harming their reputation. Of these, 44% are extremely concerned about this. Despite the widespread concern about the potential for things posted online harming their reputation, fewer than one in five (17%) Internet users said they have been negatively affected by something posted online either by them or someone else. This is unchanged since 2014.

Canadians are concerned about the collection and use of information from their body for non-medical reasons.

Most Canadians (85%) expressed at least some concern about the collection and use of information from their body like fingerprints, DNA, or fitness levels, for non-medical reasons, such as determining eligibility and rates for insurance. Of those who expressed concern, 42% said they are extremely concerned. When asked about specific scenarios involving the collection of information from their body, majorities of Canadians reported being concerned. Specifically, three-quarters would be concerned about providing saliva to a company to perform genetic testing to determine their likelihood for developing future health conditions (75%), providing saliva for ancestry testing (74%), or allowing information about the number of steps they have taken, calories burnt and their heart rate to be collected by a fitness tracker, analysed and used to make them commercial offers (74%). Fewer, but still a majority, would be concerned about having their irises scanned to speed up border crossings between Canada and the United States (62%).

Canadians are concerned about how organizations collect their personal information and their willingness to do business with a company would be affected by a company’s privacy practices and by the introduction of financial penalties for the misuse of personal information.

Most Canadians (85%) feel a greater reluctance to share their personal information with organizations in light of recent news reporting of sensitive information, such as private photos or banking information, being lost, stolen or made public. In terms of managing their personal information, 92% of Canadians expressed at least some concern about their ability to get clear information from businesses that would enable them to make informed choices about how they collect and use their personal information. Of those who expressed concern, 37% said they are extremely concerned about this. In addition, three-quarters (76%) of Canadians said they have refused to provide an organization with their personal information, and half have chosen not to do business with a company due to its privacy practices.

When asked what impact different measures would have on their willingness to do business with a company that collects personal information, seven in 10 Canadians would definitely (24%) or probably (46%) be more willing to consider doing business with a company if it provides clear and easy to understand information about its privacy practices. Nearly two-thirds said they would definitely (22%) or probably (42%) be more willing to do business with a company if its privacy practices are backed by a seal of approval from an independent authority. Six in 10 Canadians would definitely (20%) or probably (40%) be more likely to do business with a company if it provides a menu of options from which customers can determine how, if at all, their personal information is used. Finally, 41% of Canadians said strict financial penalties for the misuse of their personal information would definitely make them more likely to do business with a company (almost twice as many compared to the other measures). In total, 71% of Canadians would definitely (41%) or probably (30%) be more likely to do business with a company if it was subject to strict financial penalties.

Concern about government monitoring is widespread, but moderate, and knowledge of intelligence gathering is low.

Most (81%) Canadians are at least somewhat concerned about government monitoring of their personal activities for national security or public safety purposes (only 26% are extremely concerned). Despite being concerned, nearly two-thirds of Canadians (64%) agreed that they do not have a good understanding of what the Government of Canada does with the personal information it collects from citizens. Conversely, one in four (24%) felt they had a good understanding of this.

Focussing on intelligence gathering, very few (5%) Canadians know a great deal about the information that is collected, used, or disclosed by intelligence gathering activities. While 38% said they understand a moderate amount, more than half claimed to know not much (42%) or nothing at all (14%). Seven in 10 Canadians (70%) believe that intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies should be required to publicly report how often they make requests for personal information without a court authorization. Canadians were somewhat divided on the powers of these agencies – 50% believe that intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies do not have enough power to collect private information about citizens for the purposes of public safety or national security, while 33% felt that these agencies do not need more power to collect information from citizens. The rest of Canadians were neutral (14%).

Canadians would like to see Canada’s privacy laws modernized.

When modernizing Canada’s privacy laws, the majority of Canadians think the government should definitely: put sufficient safeguards in place to protect the personal information they collect about Canadians (78%); require the offices of Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister to be subject to the same privacy law obligations that are applied to the rest of the government (71%); require the government to put recommendations in place to improve privacy protection practices following an investigation identifying problem (69%); and legally require the government to consider the privacy risks of any new programs or laws (64%). Fewer than half (47%) said Canada’s privacy laws should definitely prohibit government from collecting personal information about Canadians unless it is essential to administer a government program.

4. Notes to Readers

  • All results are expressed as percentages, unless otherwise noted.
  • Percentages may not always add to 100 due to rounding.
  • When the number of respondents who were asked certain questions or who answered in a certain way is provided in the report, the following method is used to denote this: n=100, which means the number of respondents, in this instance, is 100.
  • The number of respondents changes in the report because questions were asked of sub-samples of survey respondents. Readers should be aware of this and exercise caution when interpreting results based on smaller numbers of respondents.
  • In graphs, ‘DK’' stands for “Don’t know” and “NR” for “No response”.
  • Tracking data are presented, where available.
  • The tabulated data is available under separate cover.

Contract Amount: $58,823.27 (HST included)

Detailed Findings

1. Privacy Knowledge, Concerns and General Perceptions

Knowledge of privacy rights has improved

Two-thirds of Canadians rated their knowledge of their privacy rights as good (49%) or very good (16%). In contrast, nearly one in five categorized their knowledge as poor (15%) or very poor (3%). Over the last 15 years, Canadians’ knowledge of their privacy rights has ranged from a low of 13% in 2001 to a high of 35% in 2012. Sixty-five percent represents a significant increase compared to previous years, although the wording of this question changed in 2016, which may be contributing to the increase in knowledge over time.Footnote 2

Figure 1: General Knowledge of Privacy RightsFigure 1: General Knowledge of Privacy Rights

Text version of Figure 1

Figure 1. General Knowledge of Privacy Rights

Question: How would you rate your knowledge of your privacy rights?

Table 1: General Knowledge of Privacy Rights
Year Very Good (7) Good (5-6) Neither Good nor Bad (4) Poor (2-3) Very Poor (1)
2016 16% 49% 17% 15% 3%
2014 5% 27% 19% 32% 16%
2012 7% 28% 19% 32% 12%
2011 4% 26% 33% 28% 8%
2009 4% 24% 35% 27% 8%
2007 3% 16% 32% 36% 11%
2006 4% 22% 32% 33% 8%
2005 3% 15% 33% 34% 13%
2001 2% 11% 26% 37% 23%

Base: n=1,500

*Note that the response scale for this question changed in 2012 to use a seven point verbally anchored numerical scale. In earlier waves, the scale was a five-point verbal scale. In addition, the question wording was modified slightly this year.

Canadians aged 55+ were more likely to rate their knowledge of their privacy rights as very good compared to Canadians under 35. Regionally, residents of Ontario were more likely than Canadians living in Quebec, the Prairies or British Columbia to view themselves a highly knowledgeable about their privacy rights.

Canadians are concerned about protecting personal privacy

Roughly nine in 10 Canadians expressed some level of concern about the protection of their personal privacy, including 37% who said they are extremely concerned. Only 8% indicated that they are not concerned about the protection of their personal privacy. Over time, there has been a gradual increase in Canadians’ concern about protecting their personal privacy, from 42% who rated their level of concern as high (scores of 6 or 7) in 2012 to 57% this year.

Figure 2: Concern about the protection of personal privacyFigure 2: Concern about the protection of personal privacy

Text version of Figure 2

Figure 2. Concern about the protection of personal privacy

Question: In general, how concerned are you about the protection of your privacy?

Table 2: Concern about the protection of personal privacy
Year Extremely concerned (7) Concerned (6) Somewhat (3-5) Not concerned (1-2)
2016 37% 20% 35% 8%
2014 34% 18% 38% 9%
2012 25% 17% 46% 11%

Base: n=1,500

The likelihood of being extremely concerned about protecting personal privacy increased with age and was higher among Canadians aged 35 and older. In addition, Canadians who rated themselves as knowledgeable about their privacy rights were more likely to be extremely concerned about the protection of their privacy.

Half are confident about knowledge of how new technologies affect privacy

Half of Canadians (52%) are confident they have enough information about how new technologies might affect their personal privacy. These results represent a significant increase in confidence in the two years since it was last measured, and the highest level of confidence in over a decade.

Canadians between the ages of 16 and 24 were more likely than Canadians aged 35 and older to feel confident that they have enough information to know how new technologies might affect their personal privacy. Compared to university graduates, Canadians with up to a high school level education were more apt to express confidence in their knowledge of new technologies and their personal privacy. In addition, Canadians who are not concerned about the protection of their personal privacy were more likely to agree with this statement about new technologies and personal privacy.

Figure 3: Knowledge of how new technologies affect privacyFigure 3: Knowledge of how new technologies affect privacy

Text version of Figure 3

Figure 3. Knowledge of how new technologies affect privacy

Question: Please rate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements, using a scale of 1 to 7.

“I feel confident that I have enough information to know how new technologies might affect my personal privacy.”

Table 3: Knowledge of how new technologies affect privacy
Year Agree (5-7) Neutral (4) Disagree (1-3)
2016 52% 15% 32%
2014 43% 15% 41%
2012 42% 16% 40%
2011 43% 24% 31%
2009 45% 20% 33%
2007 51% 16% 32%
2006 51% 17% 31%
2005 47% 17% 34%
2003 54% 15% 27%
2001 53% 16% 27%
2000 50% 18% 29%

Base: n=1,500

Most Canadians sense that protection of personal information is diminishing

Nearly three in four (74%) Canadians feel that they have less protection of their personal information in their daily life than they did ten years ago. Fewer than one in five (17%) disagreed that they have less protection of their personal information. The proportion of Canadians feeling that protection of personal information is diminishing has been increasing since 2011 and this year represents the highest level of agreement since tracking began in 2005.

Figure 4: Protection of personal information now vs. 10 years agoFigure 4: Protection of personal information now vs. 10 years ago

Text version of Figure 4

Figure 4. Protection of personal information now vs. 10 years ago

Question: Please rate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement, using a scale of 1 to 7.

“I feel I have less protection of my personal information in my daily life than I did 10 years ago.”

Table 4: Protection of personal information now vs. 10 years ago
Year Agree (5-7) Neutral (4) Disagree (1-3)
2016 74% 8% 17%
2014 73% 8% 19%
2012 71% 11% 17%
2011 61% 24% 14%
2009 60% 16% 23%
2007 70% 11% 18%
2006 71% 11% 16%
2005 71% 12% 15%

Base: n=1,500; DK/NR=1%

Compared to Canadians elsewhere in the country, residents of Quebec were least likely to agree that they have less protection of their personal information now compared to 10 years ago. The likelihood of agreeing with this statement was higher among Canadians aged 35 and older. In addition, those with a high school level education were less likely to feel they have less protection of their personal information than Canadians with a trades certification or university education.

Most lack confidence in how organizations collect and use personal information

Most Canadians feel they do not have control over how their personal information is collected and used by organizations. Forty-eight percent of Canadians outright disagreed with the premise that they have control over their personal information, while 16% were neutral. Conversely, only 36% felt they have control.

Figure 5: Control over how organizations collect and use personal informationFigure 5: Control of how organizations collect and use personal information

Text version of Figure 5

Figure 5. Control of how organizations collect and use personal information

Question: Please rate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement, using a scale of 1 to 7.

“I feel I can control how my personal information is collected and used by organizations.”

Table 5: Control of how organizations collect and use personal information
Agreed (5-7) Neutral (4) Disagree (1-3)
36% 16% 48%

Base: n=1,500

Canadians aged 35 and older, and those with a college or university education, were more likely to feel like they do not have control over how organizations collect and use their personal information.

2. Online and Mobile Privacy

Majority concerned about how online personal information may be used

Overall, most Internet users are concerned about how the information available about them online may be used by companies or organizations.

Use of online personal information to make decisions about individuals

Concern about personal information being used by companies to make decisions about them, such as for an insurance claim or health coverage, was highest. Nine in ten have at least some concern about this, with 46% expressing strong concern (scores of 6 or 7 on the 7-point scale). Compared to 2014, there has been a small increase in the proportion of Canadians expressing at least some concern about this privacy issue (from 85% to 90% in 2016), although fewer Canadians expressed strong concern this year.

Figure 6: Concern online personal information will be used to make decisions about peopleFigure 6: Concern online personal information will be used by companies or organizations to make decisions about individuals, such as for an insurance claim or health coverage

Text version of Figure 6

Figure 6. Concern online personal information will be used by companies or organizations to make decisions about individuals, such as for an insurance claim or health coverage

Question: When you think about the information available about you online, please tell me how concerned you are about companies or organizations using this information to make decisions about you, such as for an insurance claim or health coverage?

Table 6: Concern online personal information will be used by companies or organizations to make decisions about individuals, such as for an insurance claim or health coverage
Companies setting insurance/health coverage Concerned (6-7) Somewhat concerned (3-5) Not concerned (1-2)
2016 46% 44% 10%
2014 50% 35% 13%

Base: n=1,339; those who use the internet; DK/NR=1%

Canadians aged 35 and older were more likely to be highly concerned about companies and organizations using their personal information to make decisions about them, while younger Canadians were more apt to be only somewhat concerned.

Use of online personal information by marketing companies

Eighty-seven percent of Canadians expressed at least some concern about this information being used to analyze their likes and dislikes. Concern was evenly split between those who were strongly concerned (43%) and those who were somewhat concerned (44%). These results demonstrate an increase in concern among online Canadians (up seven percentage points since 2014).

Canadians aged 35 and older were more likely to be highly concerned about marketing companies using their online personal information to analyze their likes and dislikes. Regionally, the likelihood of expressing strong concern was higher in Quebec than in Ontario or the Prairies.

Figure 7: Concern online personal information will be used by marketing companiesFigure 7: Concern online personal information will be used by marketing companies to analyze individual’s likes and dislikes

Text version of Figure 7

Figure 7. Concern online personal information will be used by marketing companies to analyze individual’s likes and dislikes

Question: When you think about the information available about you online, please tell me how concerned you are about marketing companies using this information to analyze your likes and dislikes?

Table 7: Concern online personal information will be used by marketing companies to analyze individual’s likes and dislikes
Year Concerned (6-7) Somewhat concerned (3-5) Not concerned (1-2)
2016 43% 44% 13%
2014 41% 39% 18%

Base: n=1,339; those who use the internet; DK/NR=1%

Use of online personal information to determine job suitability

Six in seven (85%) Canadians are concerned about their online personal information being used to determine their suitability for a job or promotion. Nearly four in 10 (39%) expressed strong concern (6 or 7), whereas 46% were somewhat concerned about having their personal information used by companies or organizations in this way. Overall concern is higher now than it was in 2014, although fewer Canadians expressed strong concern in 2016 (down four percentage points).

Figure 8: Concern online personal information will be used by companies or organizations to determine job or promotion suitabilityFigure 8: Concern online personal information will be used by companies or organiations to determin job or promotion suitability

Text version of Figure 8

Figure 8. Concern online personal information will be used by companies or organizations to determine job or promotion suitability

Question: When you think about the information available about you online, please tell me how concerned you are about companies or organizations using this information to determine your suitability for a job or promotion?

Table 8: Concern online personal information will be used by companies or organizations to determine job or promotion suitability
Year Concerned (6-7) Somewhat concerned (3-5) Not concerned (1-2)
2016 39% 46% 16%
2014 43% 35% 20%

Base: n=1,339; those who use the Internet; DK/NR=1%

Compared to Canadians under 25, those aged 35 and older were more likely to be concerned about their online personal information being used to determine their suitability for a job or promotion.

Canadians feel they have less privacy online because of targeted ads and believe their consent should be obtained before their browsing information is used for targeted ads

The vast majority (86%) of Internet users agreed that websites should ask for consent before using information about their Internet browsing activities to create targeted online advertisements. Only 10% did not agree that consent should be required. Additionally, more than two-thirds (69%) agreed that targeted online ads make them feel like they have less privacy online. One in five (21%) did not.

Figure 9: Views on targeted online advertisingFigure 9: Views on targeted online advertising

Text version of Figure 9

Figure 9. Views on targeted online advertising

Question: Some companies use information collected from an individual’s Internet browsing to present online ads tailored to that individual. Using a 7-point scale, where ‘1’ means strongly disagree, and ‘7’ means strongly agree, please rate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements about targeted online ads.

Table 9: Views on targeted online advertising
Views Agree (5-7) Neutral (4) Disagree (1-3)
Websites should as for my consent before using information about my internet browsing activities for targeted online advertising. 86% 5% 10%
Targeted online ads make me feel like I have less privacy online. 69% 10% 21%

Base: n=1,339; those who use the Internet

The likelihood of agreeing that targeted online ads make them feel like they have less privacy online increased with age. Furthermore, Canadians 35 and over, and those with trades certificates, were more likely to agree that websites should ask for consent before using information for targeted online ads.

Majority take security measures with mobile devices

Canadians who use mobile devices are increasingly likely to take security precautions with their mobile device. Eighty-two percent have not installed, or uninstalled, apps because they were concerned about the personal information they were asked to provide (up from 75% in 2014 and 55% in 2012). In addition, the proportion of mobile device users who have adjusted settings on their smartphone or tablet to limit the amount of personal information they share with others has steadily increased, from 40% in 2011 to 76% in 2016.

Figure 10: Security measures taken on mobile devicesFigure 10: Security measures taken on mobile devices

Text version of Figure 10

Figure 10. Security measures taken on mobile devices

Question: Please tell me if you do any of the following. Do you…?

Table 10: Security measures taken on mobile devices
Security measures 2016 2014 2012 2011
Adjust settings to limit personal information shared 76% 72% 53% 40%
Not install/uninstall apps 82% 75% 55%  N/A

Base: n=1,156; those who use mobile devices

Mobile device users aged 55 and over were less likely to adjust their smartphone or tablet settings and not install or uninstall an app due to concerns about the privacy of their personal information.

Four in 10 read privacy policies for apps

While the majority of mobile users have taken security precautions with their mobile devices, only four in 10 (41%) said they read the privacy policies for apps before they download them. The majority (58%) do not.

Figure 11: Privacy policies for appsFigure 11: Privacy policies for apps

Text version of Figure 11

Figure 11. Privacy policies for apps

Question: Please tell me if you do any of the following. Do you…

Do you read the privacy policy for apps before you download them?

Table 11: Privacy policies for apps
Answer Read Privacy Policies
Yes 41%
No 58%

Base: n=1,156; those who use mobile devices

3. Reputation and Privacy

Almost five in six concerned about reputation and privacy

Eighty-two percent of Canadians have a least some concern about the potential for things like photos or posts living forever on the Internet and potentially harming their reputation. Specifically, more than half are definitely concerned (scores of 6-7), with 44% saying they are extremely concerned, 14% are concerned, and one-quarter (24%) are somewhat concerned (scores of 3-5) about this. Conversely, 16% are not concerned about this privacy issue.

Figure 12: Level of personal concern: reputation and privacyFigure 12: Level of personal concern: reputation and privacy

Text version of Figure 12

Figure 12. Level of personal concern: reputation and privacy

Question: Finally, I'm going to read a list of privacy issues facing Canadians. For each one, please tell me how concerned you are personnaly using a scale of 1 to 7, where '1' means not at all concerned, and '7' means extremely concerned. How about…?

“The potential for things like photos or posts living forever on the Internet and potentially harming your reputation”

Table 12: Level of personal concern: reputation and privacy
Extremely Concerned (7 Concerned (6) Somewhat concerned (3-5) Not concerned (1-2)
44% 14% 24% 16%

Base: n=1,500

The likelihood of being extremely concerned about one’s online reputation increased with age and was higher among women.

Fewer than one in five negatively affected by online posts

Few Canadians (17%) who use the Internet said that they have had something posted online about them that negatively affected their life in some way. The majority (82%) have not been affected by online posts. These results are unchanged from 2014.

Internet users aged 55 and older were less likely than younger Canadians to say they had been negatively affected by something they or someone else posted about them online. Conversely, those between 16 and 24 as well as those between 25 and 34 were more likely than older Canadians to indicate they had been negatively affected. In addition, those who rated themselves as not knowledgeable about their privacy rights were more likely to report being affected in a negative way by something posted online.

Figure 13: Negative effects of online postingsFigure 13: Negative effects of online postings

Text version of Figure 13

Figure 13. Negative effects of online postings

Question: Have you ever had anything posted online about you that negatively affected your life in some way? This could be something you posted yourself or someone posted about you, and it could be a picture or words, or any other type of online posting.

Table 13: Negative effects of online postings
Have had something posted online that negatively affected your life 17%
Have NOT had something posted online that negatively affected your life 82%

Base: n=1,339; those who use the Interneet; DK/NR=1%

4. Body as Information

Most Canadians concerned about use of information generated by their bodies

Many Canadians (85%) expressed some level of concern about the collection and use of information from their bodies (i.e., fingerprints, DNA, or fitness levels) for non-medical reasons like determining eligibility and rates for insurance. Of those who expressed concern, 42% were extremely concerned, 16% were concerned, and 27% were somewhat concerned about this. Fifteen percent said they are not concerned about the collection and use of information from their body.

Figure 14: Level of personal concern: body as informationFigure 14: Level of personal concern: body as information

Text version of Figure 14

Figure 14. Level of personal concern: body as information

Question: Finally, I'm going to read a list of privacy issues facing Canadians. For each one, please tell me how concerned you are personally using a scale of 1 to 7, where '1' means not at all concerned, and '7' means extremely concerned. How about…?

“The collection and use of information from your body like fingerprints, DNA, or fitness levels for non-medical reasons, such as determining eligibility and rates for insurance.”

Table 14: Level of personal concern: body as information
Extremely Concerned (7 Concerned (6) Somewhat concerned (3-5) Not concerned (1-2)
42% 16% 27% 15%

Base: n=1,500

Canadians under 25 years of age were far less likely to be highly concerned (score of 6 or 7) about information from their body being collected and used for non-medical reasons, such as insurance eligibility.

Moderate, but widespread concern for sharing information about bodies

Canadians were asked to rate their level of concern about providing information about their body. Canadians are concerned about the following:

  • Providing saliva for genetic testing to perform genetic testing to determine their likelihood for developing future health conditions (75%);
  • Providing saliva for genetic testing for ancestry (74%);
  • Allowing their daily steps, calories burnt and heart rate to be analysed and used for commercial offers (74%); and
  • Having their iris scanned to speed up border crossings into Canada and the United States (62%).

Focusing on those with strong concern levels, Canadians are more likely to be very concerned about providing saliva for genetic testing: 33% are very concerned about this risk to their personal privacy. Conversely, Canadians are less likely to be very concerned about having their irises scanned to speed up border crossings into Canada and the United States. In fact, the plurality (36%) said they are not concerned about sharing this personal information.

Figure 15: Concerns about sharing information about the body in different scenariosFigure 15: Concerns about sharing information about the body in different scenarios

Text version of Figure 15

Figure 15. Concerns about sharing information about the body in different scenarios

Question: Advances in technology are making it easier to collect and use information about our bodies, like our fingerprints and DNA, for non-medical purposes. Thinking about risks to personal privacy, how concerned would you be about providing information about your body in the following scenarios? Please use a 7-point scale, where ‘1’ means not concerned at all, and ‘7’ means extremely concerned.

Table 15: Concerns about sharing information about the body in different scenarios
Concerns about sharing information Very concerned (7) Concerned (6) Somewhat concerned (3-5) Not concerned (1-2)
Providing a sample of your saliva to a company to perform genetic testing to determine you likelihood for developing future health conditions.* 33% 13% 29% 25%
Providing a sample of your saliva to a company to perform genetic testing to help you learn more about your ancestry.* 29% 9% 36% 25%
Allowing information about the number of steps you've taken, calories burnt and heart rate to be collected by a fitness tracker, analysed and used to make you commercial offers. 28% 12% 34% 26%
Having your iris scanned to speed up border crossings into Canada and the United States. 25% 9% 28% 36%

Base: n=1,500; * Split sample, asked of half of respondents n=750

Once again, differences by age and education were evident when Canadians considered the risk to their personal privacy presented by technologies and services that collect information about their bodies. Canadians under 25 were less likely to be concerned about providing a saliva sample for genetic testing, having their fitness and health status data collected and used, or having their iris scanned for border crossings. Canadians aged 55 and older were more likely to be very concerned about providing saliva for genetic testing to learn about ancestry and about having their fitness and health status data collected and used.

5. Economics of Personal Information

Majority concerned about getting clear information about privacy practices from businesses

The majority of Canadians expressed at least some level of concern about their ability to get clear information from businesses that will enable them to make informed choices about how these organizations collect and use their personal information. Thirty-seven percent were extremely concerned, one in five were concerned (20%), and just over one-third (35%) were somewhat concerned about getting the information they need to make informed choices.

Figure 16: Level of personal concern: economics of personal informationFigure 16: Level of personal concern: economics of personal information

Text version of Figure 16

Figure 16. Level of personal concern: economics of personal information

Question: Finally, I'm going to read a list of privacy issues facing Canadians. For each one, please tell me how concerned you are personally using a scale of 1 to 7, where ‘1’ means not at all concerned, and ‘7’ means extremely concerned. How about…?

“Your ability to get clear information from businesses enabling you to make informed choices about how they collect and use your personal information.”

Table 16: Level of personal concern: economics of personal information
Extremely Concerned (7) Concerned (6) Somewhat concerned (3-5) Not concerned (1-2)
37% 20% 35% 7%

Base: n=1,500

Concern increased with age. Canadians who are 55 years of age and older were more likely to be extremely concerned about being able to get clear information from organizations in order to make informed choices, whereas Canadians under 25 were less likely to be concerned.

News reports on privacy breaches make Canadians unwilling to share information

Most Canadians (85%) said news reports about privacy breaches have affected their willingness to share personal information at least somewhat, with 35% saying it has affected them a great deal. These results are similar to those of 2014, with 31% of Canadians saying their willingness to share information was affected a great deal by news reports on privacy breaches.

Canadians 55 and over were more likely to have been affected a great deal by news reports about privacy breaches, while those with a university education were less likely to say they had been affected a great deal by such reports.

Figure 17: Impact of privacy breaches on willingness to share personal informationFigure 17: Impact of privacy breaches on willingness to share personal information

Text version of Figure 17

Figure 17. Impact of privacy breaches on willingness to share personal information

Question: Recently there have been a number of incidents reported in the news of sensitive personal information, such as private photos and debit or credit card information, being lost, stolen or made public. To what extent has this affected your willingness to share personal information with organizations? (Using a scale of 1 to 7, where ‘1’ means not at all, and ‘7’ means a great deal.)

Table 17: Impact of privacy breaches on willingness to share personal information
Willingness to share personal information 2016 2014
A great deal (7) 35% 31%
(6) 17% 13%
(5) 17% 16%
(4) 10% 10%
(3) 6% 7%
(2) 5% 6%
Not at all (1) 10% 16%

Majority have taken action to manage their personal information

Three-quarters of Canadians (76%) have refused to provide organizations with their personal information. These results are similar to those of 2014, where 77% of Canadians said they had refused to provide an organization with their information.

Additionally, half of Canadians (51%) said they have chosen not to do business with a company due to their privacy practices.

Figure 18: Actions taken to manage personal informationFigure 18: Actions taken to manage personal information

Text version of Figure 18

Figure 18. Actions taken to manage personal information

Question: Have you ever …?

Table 18: Actions taken to manage personal information
Refused to provide an organization with personal information? 76%
Chosen not to do business with a company due to privacy practices? 51%

Base: n=1,500

Canadians 55 and over were less likely to have refused to provide organizations with personal information, while those aged 35 to 54 were more likely to have refused to do business with a company due to its privacy practices. When it came to education, Canadians with a high school level education were less likely to have refused to provide organizations with personal information and those with trades certificates were more likely to have refused to do business with a company due to its privacy practices.

All measures viewed positively, although fines stand out as having the greatest impact on willingness to do business

Respondents were asked what impact the following would have on their willingness to do business with a company that collects their personal information:

  • The company provides clear, easy to understand information about its privacy practices, including how it uses personal information.
  • The company provides a menu of options you would choose from to determine how, if at all, the company could use your personal information.
  • The company’s privacy practices are backed by a seal of approval provided by an independent authority on privacy protection.
  • Under Canadian law, the company would face strict financial penalties, such as large fines, for misusing your personal information.

All of these measures will probably or definitely increase the willingness of at least six in 10 Canadians to do business with a company that collects their personal information. Punitive measures, however, stand out, with the plurality (41%) saying that knowing the company would face strict financial penalties for misusing Canadians’ personal information would definitely increase their willingness to do business with a company.

Figure 19: Privacy practices/laws and willingness to do business with a companyFigure 19: Extent to which privacy practices/laws affect willingness to do business with a company

Text version of Figure 19

Figure 19. Extent to which privacy practices/laws and willingness to do business with a company

Question: Many companies are collecting personal information about consumers to learn more about them. What impact would the following have on your willingness to do business with a company that collects your personal information? What if… Would this definitely, probably, probably not, or definitely not increase you willingness to do business with the company?

Table 19: Privacy practices/laws and willingness to do business with a company
Privacy practices/laws Definitely Probably Probably not Definitely not
Under Canadian law, the company would face strict financial penalties, such as large fines, for misusing your personal information 41% 30% 15% 13%
Company provides clear, easy to understand information about its privacy practices 24% 46% 18% 11%
Company's privacy practices are backed by a seal of approval provided by an independent authority 22% 42% 22% 13%
Company provides a menu of options you would choose from to determine how, if at all, personal information is used 20% 40% 22% 16%

Base: n=1,500; DK/NR=1%

Canadians were less likely to attribute importance to companies providing a menu of options for controlling their personal information. While 60% thought this approach would probably or definitely increase their willingness to do business with a company, nearly four in 10 said this measure probably (22%) or definitely (16%) would not.

Measures aimed at increasing the willingness of Canadians to do business with companies that collect their personal information were less likely to resonate with older Canadians (aged 55+). These respondents were less likely than younger Canadians to say that these measures would definitely increase their willingness to do business with a company that collects their personal information.

6. Government Surveillance

Many Canadians concerned about government monitoring of their activities

Eighty-one percent of Canadians expressed some level of concern about government monitoring of their activities for national security or public safety purposes. Exactly four in 10 said they are somewhat concerned about this, while a similar proportion are definitely (15%) or extremely (26%) concerned. Roughly one in five (19%) are not concerned about government surveillance of their activities.

Figure 20: Level of personal concern: government surveillanceFigure 20: Level of personal concern: government surveillance

Text version of Figure 20

Figure 20. Level of personal concern: government surveillance

Question: Finally, I'm going to read a list of privacy issues facing Canadians. For each one, please tell me how concerned you are personally using a scale of 1 to 7, where ‘1’ means not at all concerned, and ‘7’ means extremely concerned. How about…?

“Government monitoring of your activities for national security or public safety purposes.”

Table 20: Level of personal concern: government surveillance
Government surveillance Percentage
Extremely concerned (7) 26%
Concerned (6) 15%
Somewhat concerned (3-5) 40%
Not concerned (1-2) 19%

Base: n=1,500

The likelihood of being concerned about government surveillance increased with age and was highest among Canadians aged 55 and older.

Desire for transparency when personal information collected without a warrant; half of Canadians believe intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies do not have enough power

Seven in 10 (70%) Canadians want intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies to disclose how often they collect personal information without court authorization. In addition, half (50%) of Canadians agreed that intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies do not have enough power to collect private information from citizens in support of national security and public safety. Conversely, almost as many do not agree that these agencies need more power: 33% disagreed with the statement and 14% were neutral, expressing neither agreement nor disagreement.

Figure 21: Attitudes toward government collection of personal informationFigure 21: Attitudes toward the collection of personal information by intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies

Text version of Figure 21

Figure 21. Attitudes toward the collection of personal information by intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies

Question: Please rate the extent to which you agree with the following statements, using a 7-point scale.

Table 21: Views on targeted online advertising
Type of attitude Agree (5-7) Neutral (4) Disagree (1-3)
Intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies should be required to publicly report on how often they make requests, without court authorizationi, to receive information about individuals' online and telephone activities 70% 10% 17%
Intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies do not have enough power to collect private information from citizens in support of national security and public safety 50% 14% 33%

Base: n=1,500; DK/NR=2-3%

Canadians under 25 were less likely to agree that intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies should be required to report on how often they make warrant-less requests for individuals’ online and telephone activities.

The likelihood of agreeing that intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies do not have enough power to collect private information from citizens increased with age and was highest among Canadians aged 55 and older.

Low understanding of intelligence gathering activities in Canada

When asked how much they understand about what information is collected, used or disclosed by intelligence gathering activities in Canada, over half of Canadians said they had little (42%) or no understanding (14%). Conversely, almost two in five (38%) said they had a moderate understanding and 5% said they understand a great deal.

Figure 22: Understanding of intelligence gathering activities in CanadaFigure 22: Understanding of intelligence gathering activities in Canada

Text version of Figure 22

Figure 22. Understanding of intelligence gathering activities in Canada

Question: How much do you understand about what information is collected, used or disclosed by intelligence gathering activities in Canada?

Table 22: Understanding of intelligence gathering activities in Canada
Degree of understanding 2016
A great deal 5%
A moderate amount 38%
Not much 42%
Nothing at all 14%

Base: n=1,500

Canadians 55 and over were more likely to say they have a moderate amount of understanding about what information is collected, used, or disclosed by intelligence gathering activities. Whereas Canadians between 25 and 34 were more likely to say they have not understanding at all. Additionally, those with a college level education were more likely to say they had a moderate understanding.

Poor knowledge of how Government of Canada uses citizen’s personal information

Most Canadians do not know what the Government of Canada does with the personal information that it collects from citizens. Sixty-four percent agreed that they do not have a good understanding of what the Government does with their information. Only one-quarter (24%) said they disagree, therefore indicating they understand what the government does with Canadians’ personal information.

Figure 23: Understanding of information collection practices in CanadaFigure 23: Understanding of information collection practices in Canada

Text version of Figure 23

Figure 23. Understanding of information collection practices in Canada

Question: Please rate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement, using a scale of 1 to 7.

“I don't have a good understanding of what the Government of Canada does with the personal information it collects from citizens.”

Table 23: Understanding of information collection practices in Canada
Agree (5-7) Neutral (4) Disagree (1-3)
64% 11% 24%

Base: n=1,500

Respondents 55 or older were more likely to agree that they did not have a good understanding of what the Government of Canada does with the personal information it collects. Those 16 to 24 were more likely to disagree to this statement. In addition, Canadians with high school level education were more likely to agree to not understanding of what the Government of Canada does with the personal information it collects; where as those with university level education were more likely to disagree to the statement.

7. Privacy Laws

Most Canadians support changes to Canada’s privacy laws

Respondents were asked to consider whether the government should definitely, probably, probably not, or definitely not make the following changes to Canada’s privacy laws:

  • Prohibit government from collecting personal information about Canadians unless it is essential to administer a government program;
  • Legally require government to consider the privacy risks of any new programs or laws;
  • Legally require that the offices of Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister be subject to the same privacy law obligations that apply to government departments and agencies;
  • Legally require government departments and agencies to put in place sufficient safeguards to protect the personal information they collect about Canadians; and
  • Legally require government to put recommendations in place to improve privacy protection practices following an investigation that identified problems.

Most Canadians felt that all of these measures should probably or definitely be incorporated in any updates made to the laws that govern the privacy obligations of federal departments and agencies. In fact, with one exception, the majority of Canadians felt that all the measures should definitely be reflected in the country’s privacy laws.

Figure 24: Attitudes toward modernizing Canada's privacy lawsFigure 24: Attitudes toward modernizing Canada's privacy laws

Text version of Figure 24

Figure 24. Attitudes toward modernizing Canada's privacy laws

Question: The laws that govern the privacy obligations of federal departments and agencies were put in place 30 years ago. Parliament is currently studying the law and determining how it may be updated. When modernzing Canada's privacy laws would you say the government should definitely, probably, probably not, or definitely not…

Table 24: Attitudes toward modernizing Canada's privacy laws
Type of attitude Definitely Probably Probably-Definitely not
Legally require the government to put in place sufficient safeguards to protect the personal information they collect about Canadians 78% 17% 4%
Legally require that the offices of Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister be subject to the same privacy law obligations that apply to government 71% 22% 6%
Legally require government to put recommendations in place to improve privacy protection practices following an investigation that identified problems 69% 25% 5%
Legally require government to consider the privacy risks of any new programs or laws 66% 27% 6%
Prohibit government from collecting personal information about Canadians unless it is essential to administer a government program 47% 35% 17%

Base: n=1,500; DK/NR=1%

Leading the way, 78% of respondents said it should definitely be a legal requirement for the government to put in place sufficient safeguards to protect the personal information they collect about Canadians. Following this, similar proportions definitely want it to be a legal requirement that the offices of the Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister be subject to the same privacy law obligations that apply to government (71%) and that recommendations be put in place to improve privacy protection practices following an investigation that identified problems (69%). Two-thirds (66%) definitely think the government should be legally required to consider the privacy risks of any new programs or laws.

The exception was the collection of personal information from Canadians. Fewer than half (47%) of Canadians said they would definitely want modernized privacy laws to prohibit government from collecting citizens’ personal information unless it was essential to administer a government program. Just over one-third (35%) thought this measure should probably be incorporated, while 17% said probably or definitely not.

Younger Canadians were less likely to say that any of these measures should definitely be put in place when modernizing Canada’s privacy laws. Differences based on education were consistent among the measures: Canadians with a high school level education were less likely to say that the government should definitely consider any of these measures.

Appendix

Annex 1: Questionnaire

Introduction

Hello, my name is [Interviewer’s name]. I’m calling on behalf of Phoenix, a public opinion research company. We’re conducting a survey for the Government of Canada to explore issues of interest to Canadians. The survey takes about 10 minutes and is voluntary. Your responses will be kept entirely confidential and anonymous and that this survey is registered with the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA).

Would you prefer to continue in English or French? / Préférez-vous continuer en anglais ou en français?

[CELL SAMPLE SKIP A, GO TO CS1]

A. I’d like to speak to someone in your household who is 16 years of age or older. Is that you?

    Yes                       GO TO B
    No                        ASK TO SPEAK TO ELIGIBLE PERSON
                              REPEAT INTRO

[CELL SAMPLE ONLY]

CS1. Have I reached you on your cell phone?

    Yes                                       CONTINUE
    No                                        GO TO B

CS2. Are you 16 years of age or older?

    Yes                                       CONTINUE
    No                                        THANK/DISCONTINUE

CS3. Are you in a place where you can safely talk on the phone and answer my questions?

    Yes                                       GO TO B
    No                                        

CS4. When would it be more convenient for me to call back?

    Schedule call-back if possible (time/day):                  

B. Do you, or does anyone in your family or household, work in any of the following areas? [READ LIST]

    Advertising or Market Research           THANK/DISCONTINUE
    The media (i.e. TV, radio, newspapers)   THANK/DISCONTINUE
    An elected official                      THANK/DISCONTINUE

* THOSE WHO ARE NOT ELIGIBLE: Thank you for your willingness to take part in this survey, but you do not meet the eligibility requirements of this study.

INTERVIEWER AND PROGRAMMER NOTES:

RESEARCH VALIDITY: IF RESPONDENT QUESTIONS THE VALIDITY OF THE RESEARCH, INVITE RESPONDENT TO:

  • CALL THE MRIA RESEARCH REGISTRATION SYSTEM (SEE NOTE BELOW);
  • CALL OPC; OR
  • HAVE OPC CALL THE RESPONDENT.

THE RESEARCH REGISTRATION SYSTEM: IF RESPONDENT ASKS ABOUT THE SYSTEM, SAY:

The registration system has been created by the survey research industry to allow the public to verify that a survey is legitimate, get information about the survey industry, or register a complaint. The registration system’s toll-free phone number is 1-888-602-6742 EXT. 8728 and its web address is (WWW.MRIA-ARIM.CA)

SECTION HEADINGS SHOULD NOT BE READ TO RESPONDENTS.

UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED, ALL QUESTIONS IN THE SURVEY WILL ALLOW FOR ‘DON’T KNOW/NO RESPONSE’ OPTION.

REVEAL THE NAME OF THE CLIENT DEPARTMENT THAT COMMISSIONED THE SURVEY AT THE END OF THE SURVEY ONLY..

Knowledge, Concern and General Perceptions

Many of the questions in this survey are about personal privacy and the protection of personal information. Personal information includes things like your name, age, address, income, and email address, but also information like your opinions, purchasing habits, online activities, and things like that.

1. How would you rate your knowledge of your privacy rights? Please use a scale of 1 to 7, where '1' means very poor and '7' means very good. [T14-MODIFIED]

2. In general, how concerned are you about the protection of your privacy? Please use a scale of 1 to 7, where '1' means not concerned at all, and '7' means extremely concerned. [T14]

3. Please rate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements, using a scale of 1 to 7, where '1' means strongly disagree, and '7' means strongly agree. [READ/ROTATE] [T14]

  1. I feel I have less protection of my personal information in my daily life than I did 10 years ago.
  2. I feel confident that I have enough information to know how new technologies might affect my personal privacy.
  3. I feel I can control how my personal information is collected and used by organizations.

6. These next questions deal with issues related to online and mobile privacy. Do you use the Internet? And what about a mobile device, such as a smart phone or tablet?

[READ LIST; RECORD YES, NO]

NON-INTERNET USERS GO TO Q12.

7. When you think about the information available about you online, please tell me how concerned you are about each of the following? How about...? [READ; ROTATE] Please use a 7-point scale, where '1' means not concerned at all, and '7' means extremely concerned. [T14]

  1. Marketing companies using this information to analyze your likes and dislikes.
  2. Companies or organizations using this information to determine your suitability for a job or promotion.
  3. Companies or organizations using this information to make decisions about you, such as for an insurance claim or health coverage.

8. Some companies use information collected from an individual's Internet browsing to present online ads tailored to that individual. Using a 7-point scale, where '1' means strongly disagree, and '7' means strongly agree, please rate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements about targeted online ads:

  1. Targeted online ads make me feel like I have less privacy online. [T14]
  2. I think websites should ask for my consent before using information about my Internet browsing activities for targeted online advertising.

9. Please tell me if you do any of the following. Do you…? [ROTATE LIST; RECORD YES/NO]

  1. Adjust settings on your smartphone or tablet to limit the amount of personal information that you share with others. [T14]
  2. Read the privacy policy for apps before you download them.
  3. Not install, or uninstall apps if you are concerned about the personal information you are asked to provide? [T14-MODIFIED]

10. Have you ever had anything posted online about you that negatively affected your life in some way? This could be something you posted yourself or someone else posted about you, and it could be a picture or words, or any other type of online posting. [T14-MODIFIED]

  • Yes
  • No

12. Advances in technology are making it easier to collect and use information about our bodies, like our fingerprints and DNA, for non-medical purposes. Thinking about risks to personal privacy, how concerned would you be about providing information about your body in the following scenarios? [READ; ROTATE] Please use a 7-point scale, where '1' means not concerned at all, and '7' means extremely concerned.

  1. Having your iris scanned in order to speed up border crossings into Canada and the United States.
  2. Providing a sample of your saliva to a company to perform genetic testing to help you learn more about your ancestry. [SPLIT SAMPLE]
  3. Providing a sample of your saliva to a company to perform genetic testing to determine your likelihood for developing future health conditions. [SPLIT SAMPLE]
  4. Allowing information about the number of steps you’ve taken, calories burnt and heart rate to be collected by a fitness tracker, analysed and used to make you commercial offers.

13. Recently there have been a number of incidents reported in the news of sensitive personal information, such as private photos and debit or credit information, being lost, stolen or made public. To what extent has this affected your willingness to share personal information with organizations? Please use a 7-point scale, where 1 is not at all, and 7 is a great deal. [T14]

14. Have you ever: [READ; RECORD YES/NO] [T14]

  1. refused to provide an organization with your personal information?
  2. chosen to not do business with a company due to its privacy practices?

15. Many companies are collecting personal information about consumers to learn more about them. What impact would the following have on your willingness to do business with a company that collects your personal information? What if …. [READ; ROTATE] Would this definitely, probably, probably not, or definitely not increase your willingness to do business with the company?

  1. The company provides clear, easy to understand information about its privacy practices, including how it uses personal information.
  2. The company provides a menu of options you would choose from to determine how, if at all, the company could use your personal information.
  3. The company’s privacy practices are backed by a seal of approval provided by an independent authority on privacy protection.
  4. Under Canadian law, the company would face strict financial penalties, such as large fines, for misusing your personal information.

Changing topics,

17. Please rate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements, using a 7-point scale, where '1' means strongly disagree, and '7' means strongly agree. [READ; ROTATE]

  1. Intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies do not have enough power to collect private information from citizens in support of national security and public safety.
  2. I don't have a good understanding of what the Government of Canada does with the personal information it collects from citizens.
  3. Intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies should be required to publicly report on how often they make requests, without court authorization, to receive information about individuals’ online and telephone activities.

18. How much do you understand about what information is collected, used, or disclosed by intelligence gathering activities in Canada? Would you say….a great deal, a moderate amount, not much, or nothing at all?

19. The laws that govern the privacy obligations of federal departments and agencies were put in place 30 years ago. Parliament is currently studying the law and determining how it may be updated. When modernizing Canada’s privacy laws would you say the government should definitely, probably, probably not, or definitely not ….[READ LIST; ROTATE]

  1. Prohibit government from collecting personal information about Canadians unless it is essential to administer a government program.
  2. Legally require government to consider the privacy risks of any new programs or laws.
  3. Legally require that the offices of Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister be subject to the same privacy law obligations that apply to government departments and agencies.
  4. Legally require government departments and agencies to put in place sufficient safeguards to protect the personal information they collect about Canadians.
  5. Legally require government to put recommendations in place to improve privacy protection practices following an investigation that identified problems.

20. Finally, I’m going to read a list of privacy issues facing Canadians. For each one, please tell me how concerned you are personally using a scale of 1 to 7, where ‘1’ means not at all concerned, and ‘7’ means extremely concerned. How about….? [READ; ROTATE]

  1. Government monitoring of your activities for national security or public safety purposes.
  2. The potential for things like photos or posts living forever on the Internet and potentially harming your reputation.
  3. Your ability to get clear information from businesses enabling you to make informed choices about how they collect and use your personal information.
  4. The collection and use of information from your body like fingerprints, DNA, or fitness levels for non-medical reasons, such as determining eligibility and rates for insurance.

Demographics

The last few questions are for classification purposes only.

21. In what year were you born?

Record year:

22. What language do you speak most often at home?

  • English
  • French
  • Other

23. What is the highest level of formal education that you have completed? [READ LIST]

  • Grade 8 or less
  • Some high school
  • High School diploma or equivalent
  • Registered Apprenticeship or other trades certificate or diploma
  • College, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma
  • University certificate or diploma below bachelor's level
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Post graduate degree above bachelor's level
  • [DO NOT READ] Prefer not to answer

[ASK CELL SAMPLE:]

C1. In addition to your cellular telephone, does your household currently have a traditional telephone or landline?

  • Yes
  • No

[ASK LANDLINE SAMPLE:]

C2. In addition to your residential landline telephone, do you or someone else in your household also use one or more cell phone numbers?

  • Yes
  • No

That concludes the survey. Thank you very much for your thoughtful feedback. It is much appreciated. This survey was conducted on behalf of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Date modified: