A majority of Australians have rejected data retention and don’t trust governments or corporations to handle their data, this week’s Essential Report shows, while Tony Abbott has begun regaining ground lost to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
Fifty-one per cent of Australians disapprove of the government’s proposal to force telecommunications companies and internet service providers to collect data from their use of a communications service, including 30% who strongly disapprove. Responses are strongly linked to age: 39% of voters approve of data retention, with support mostly confined to over-55s; 64% of respondents aged 18-34 disapprove; while 54% of those aged 55 and over approve. Hostility among under-35s is particularly strong, with 39% saying they “strongly disapprove” of data retention. In short, the only segment of the community that supports data retention is the one that uses IT least.
But even supporters of data retention have little trust that governments or companies will store their data safely. Sixty-eight per cent have little or no trust that data would be stored safely and in a way that would prevent abuse, with even Liberal voters -- the strongest supporters of data retention, not trusting governments or companies.