During September 2009, the Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority (ILITA), conducted an extensive opinion poll about data protection and the public awareness to its importance.
The poll was executed by the Shiluv Research Group (Millward Brown) by telephone interview of a national random sample, which included 529 men and women over 18 years old, representing the Israeli population.
Summary of findings and conclusions:
· The perception in the Israeli public is that personal data is not properly protected:
o 70% of the public believe that personal data is not properly protected;
o 58% of the public believe that the legislation in Israel cannot deal with the growing transfer of personal data between different bodies, while 34% believe it can;
o about half the public report that they are troubled by the way public and private bodies protect personal data;
o when asked how much they trust 13 types of bodies to use the data about them only for the purposes for which it is kept, about half of the public said they don't trust these bodies, and especially survey companies (62%), NGO's (57%) and insurance companies (54%). The most trust is in doctors and medical services;
o 50% of the public report that when they give data to a body they always ask for which purpose it is needed, 27% ask in most cases;
· most of the public (79%) believe that public awareness to data protection is low:
o 64% of the public confirm that they know whoever collects data about them should identify himself and the purpose for the data in order to save it in a database;
o 81% of the public believe that in order to use data about them their consent is required;
o 76% of the public believe that the Israeli law provides them a right to file a claim for compensations for infringement of the Protection of Privacy Law;
o 44% of the public believe that there is a legal provision allowing them to access data about them held by others;
· transfer of data using the internet is not perceived as safe. Yet, many use the internet for this:
o 69% of the public are worried about giving personal data using the internet;
o only 22% of the public believe that transfer on data using the internet by them is relatively safe, 70% do not;
o 57% of the public heard of tool/technologies limiting or preventing collection of data from the personal computer by strange bodies. 35% of the public (about 60% of those who are aware of the tools) had the chance to use them. Most of the barriers to using such tools are technical - lack of knowledge of how to install and use them.
This poll was conducted as part of the twinning project between ILITA, the data protection authority in Israel, and it's counterpart in Spain the Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD). For more information about the project
The poll was set in a similar layout to data protection polls conducted in Europe, in order to compare the status in Israel with the status in the Europe. Based on a comparison made by ILITA between the results of this poll and the results of parallel polls in Europe, it seems that the awareness to data protection is higher in Europe and the level of trust of the citizen in bodies processing their personal data is lower in Israel compared to Europe. Especially note worthy is the fact that in Europe the level of trust of citizens in government bodies such as tax authorities, police and local authorities related to data protection is much higher in Europe than in Israel. The medical sector has high credibility in both.
Adv. Yoram Hacohen, the head of ILITA: "the results of the poll show that the issue of data protection troubles the Israeli public, and that there is a need to enhance enforcement and awarness on this issue - a process ILITA is diligently working on since its establishment. I am concerned by the fact that the public perception of government bodies is that they do not protect personal data of the citizens and government ministries should allocate more resources to protect and raise awareness."