Individual privacy is often viewed as something that is under threat. The proliferation of computers, networks, electronic information services and digital data has increased concern about privacy. This is the view portrayed in international literature, particularly from the United States. But how concerned are New Zealanders about privacy? This study examines New Zealanders’ privacy attitudes related to the use of technologies.

Using Alan Westin’s privacy index to measure the level of concern about privacy, this study found that the level of concern amongst New Zealanders was low compared to that of the United States and UK. The large majority of respondents were neither concerned nor unconcerned about privacy but were pragmatic about the privacy issues associated with the use of technology. This study showed that while privacy is a consideration in the use of technologies, it was clear that many respondents valued the convenience and benefits of technology more than privacy when presented with these choices in specific contexts.