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Public Sector

Data Privacy Concerns on the Rise as the Use of Digital Government Services Soars

Australians are increasingly using digital government to access key services in their everyday lives. The findings of the latest edition of the Publicis Sapient Digital Citizen Survey showed that 94 percent of citizens used at least one digital government service in 2022. The research polled over 5,000 participants from across Australia to analyse how citizens engage with governments through digital services. The research found that most Australian citizens are comfortable with technology and are very satisfied with digital government services—however, data privacy issues must be addressed for digitalisation to be optimised.


Most popular services

MyGov (56 percent), healthcare (55 percent) and financial services/taxes (45 percent) were among the most accessed digital government services in 2022. Healthcare services (92 percent), transportation/recreation services (92 percent) and general (MyGov) services (89 percent) also registered the highest positive rating amongst the listed digital government services.

Technology was a key enabler during major life events as almost half of all Australian citizens (42 percent) said that digital services simplified administrative tasks, and only 32 percent said they did not use a digital service during this time.

"This is a noteworthy trend because the proportion of Australians who experienced major life events in the past 12 months rose from 60 percent to 65 percent, and 68 percent of those who experienced a major life event used online government services related to the event."

Digital government services were most likely to be used during births (92 percent) and marriages (88 percent).

Uptake in digital IDs and wallets

A rapidly maturing digital economy and digitalisation of financial services have also encouraged more Australians to adopt digital IDs and wallets. Research found that 81 percent of Australians used a digital identity method, and 85 percent could identify at least one benefit of using the myGovID digital identity. Australian citizens also preferred virtual payments, and a majority (72 percent) used a digital wallet on their mobile phones. The three most cited digital identity methods used by citizens were the myGovID digital identity (55 percent), followed by Mastercard ID (28 percent) and Auspost ID (17 percent).

Data privacy risks slows momentum

Despite an overwhelmingly positive citizen sentiment around digital services, Australians are still wary of online transactions because of the perceived risks.  

Citizens top concerns:

Research showed that the top concerns were privacy breaches from storing data in a single source (30 percent), the perceived threat of being unable to access personal data (20 percent) and concerns about personal data being stored on government databases (19 percent).

privacy breaches from storing data ina single source
unable to access personal data
data being stored on government databases

Residents from NSW, TAS, ACT and NT were generally more trusting of digital government services compared to those from VIC and QLD, who were less trusting following recent data breaches.

Citizens were willing to provide personal information to access government services even though they were not fully convinced it was completely safe to do so. The top three benefits they cited were applications, claims and notifications being processed more quickly (45 percent), access to timely and relevant notifications about services (38 percent) and services personalised to your needs (38 percent). This presents an opportunity for governments to build public trust and confidence in personal information handling practices and strengthen the digital government ecosystem in the future.

Mark Williams
Mark Williams
Federal Government Lead
Publicis Sapient