Many Canadians value data security more than money

A survey shows protecting personal data and identity are enough of a concern to make them wary of convenient digital tools.
Artificial intelligence

More than half of Canadians feel that security around their personal identity online is more important than security around their money – a concern that might make them apprehensive about the convenience of new digital identification options.

That’s according to Trust and Identity in a Digital World, a report commissioned by Interac and based on a survey conducted by Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Leger Research.

According to the survey, 82% of Canadians say their personal identity is one of their most valuable assets, with 52% saying it is more important to protect their identity online than their money.

Most Canadians (86%) can identify situations where having a digital version of physical documents would be more convenient, with 60% saying it was hard to keep track of official government IDs. Because a secure digital method is not available, 45% of Canadians will take photos of their physical IDs, a workaround that allows them to conveniently access physical documents in a digital format. That’s a high percentage despite the fact that 59% of Canadians acknowledge sharing documents digitally can be risky behaviour.

Furthermore, 65% of Canadians are concerned that a digital ID would be at a greater risk of theft than a physical one. Interac suggest that this apprehension could be at least partially due to a knowledge gap, as 77% of Canadians say they don’t know enough about how to protect their identity online. This ties into greater trends about how personal information is used online, with 77% also saying they feel like they aren’t in control of how personal information is used online.

In terms of what would make them feel more secure, Canadians are looking at things they associate with digital payments: 72% say using a digital ID to access government services should be as secure as making a payment online, while 62% would prefer a digital ID if they knew it was protected by security features from their bank or financial institution. Other factors that would improve trust would be knowing there were government regulations to protect them (58%), as well as having transparency over how that information is used (also 58%).