04/04/2013 03:09 EDT | Updated 06/04/2013 05:12 EDT

Privacy Protection: Canadians Don't Think Government, Businesses Take It Seriously

A newly released poll suggests Canadians overwhelmingly believe their private information is more at risk today than it was a decade ago and that the federal government and corporations don't take the issue very seriously.

The poll commissioned by the office of the federal privacy commissioner found about 70 per cent of Canadians believed there's less privacy protection today than there was 10 years ago.

A similar number believed protecting personal information will be one of the most important issues in the next decade.

Many acknowledged they have a role to play in better protecting their privacy. While 66 per cent said they were very concerned about privacy rights, almost half admitted their knowledge of privacy rights was poor or very poor.

When asked if they knew enough about how new technologies might affect their privacy, 40 per cent weren't confident.

Very few felt personal information was being safeguarded as much as it could be. Only 21 per cent of those polled felt the federal government took its responsibility to protect private information seriously, about 64 per cent responded "somewhat seriously," and 12 per cent chose "not seriously."

For businesses, 13 per cent of respondents said corporations take the issue seriously, 68 per cent chose "somewhat seriously," and 18 per cent replied "not seriously."

Nearly everyone surveyed, 97 per cent of the 1,513 Canadians polled, said they'd want to be notified if their personal information was compromised.

Few reported being victimized by their personal information being online. Only 12 per cent said something they posted online negatively impacted their life.

The results of the telephone survey conducted between Oct. 25 to Nov. 12 are considered to be accurate within 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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