Access to Information and Protecting Privacy Important to Albertans

June 13, 2013

A public opinion survey commissioned by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) shows that 97% of respondents believe it is important to protect the privacy of personal information; however, only 39% feel secure about the privacy of their own personal information. Survey respondents also believe it is important to protect the right to access information (93%) but only 38% were confident about their own ability to do so.

The telephone survey of 800 residents across Alberta found that the access and privacy issues that matter most to respondents were hacking, identity theft and fraud, followed by the misuse of personal information by authorized users, and children and youth privacy.

The General Population Survey, conducted between March 22 and March 27, 2013, was commissioned to obtain feedback about Albertans’ awareness of access and privacy laws, their rights under those laws, and the role of the OIPC, as well as to identify the access and privacy issues of most importance to Albertans.

The survey complements the OIPC’s 2012 online survey of stakeholders (public bodies, health custodians and private sector organizations) which provided information about the implementation of access and privacy programs in Alberta, the efficiency and effectiveness of OIPC processes, how the OIPC could best communicate with stakeholders, and the access and privacy issues of most importance to stakeholders.

Results from the Stakeholder Survey show that significant work has been done to establish access and privacy programs in Alberta; however, areas of weakness include proactive auditing to identify compliance issues, developing access and privacy training and education programs, establishing breach response protocols, and managing service providers.

“Access to information and privacy rights matter to Albertans,” says Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton. “The surveys provide valuable information that will assist my office and stakeholders in developing awareness tools and improving processes that will further support access and privacy rights.”