As new technologies enter the market, Kiwis are discovering that owning a smart phone, tablet or laptop can raise tricky issues about privacy and cyber-security.
And with debate raging over proposed legislation to allow spy agencies and the police to conduct cyber-surveillance on New Zealand citizens, these issues are more relevant than ever.
According to the latest findings by Roy Morgan Research, the last two years have seen a huge rise in the adoption of new technologies in New Zealand.
Smartphone ownership has increased threefold from 12% to 36% of Kiwis aged 14+, while ownership of tablet computers has skyrocketed from just 5% of the population to 25%.
Laptop/notebook computer ownership shows more moderate growth, from 53% as of January 2011 to 57% by January 2013.
“What with proposed changes to the Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Act meaning that network operators may be obliged to assist police and spy agencies in matters affecting ‘national and economic well-being’, cyber-security issues are currently a hot topic in New Zealand," says Pip Elliott, general manager, Roy Morgan Research NZ, says:
“As increasing numbers of Kiwis adopt new technologies such as smartphones and tablets, they’re realising there’s a flipside to the convenience these gadgets provide — and it’s a source of concern for them.
“Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom isn’t the only one awaiting the final revision of this legislation with interest.”
While there’s no doubt that new technologies can make our lives easier in many ways, they also expose us to potential privacy risks according to Elliot.
As more New Zealanders adopt these technologies, they’re simultaneously becoming more concerned about the accompanying risks.
In the last decade, the proportion of New Zealanders who agree with the statement ‘I’m worried about invasion of my privacy through new technology’ has increased from 54% to 62%, rising four percentage points in the last two years alone.
Different levels of technology use
Of course, not everyone is a card-carrying technology convert.
Different people adopt new technology at different rates — some even actively resist it. But for those who embrace the future and the technology which accompanies it, the need to be aware of the security risks have become as important as ever.
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