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Kiwis comfortable with mining social media to identify terrorist activity, but not for marketing: Unisys

Kiwis comfortable with mining social media to identify terrorist activity, but not for marketing: Unisys

“Organisations must not abuse their relationship with their customers and citizens in the way that they collect, analyse and use publicly available data,” says Steve Griffin, Unisys NZ country manager.

A Unisys survey finds New Zealand’s support for data mining social media depends on its purpose.

Majority of Kiwis support monitoring social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to detect possible terrorist activity and to identify public issues and concerns.

However, they are not comfortable with such monitoring for organisations to make targeted advertising or offers.

“Perhaps we see this as too invasive,” says Steve Griffin, country manager, Unisys New Zealand, on the findings of the latest Unisys Security Insights, a global study on the attitudes of consumers on a range of security issues. The study, conducted in New Zealand by Newspoll, surveyed 503 adults in April 2015.

“This means that organisations must not abuse their relationship with their customers and citizens in the way that they collect, analyse and use publicly available data,” advises Griffin. “Even though consumers can’t actually control an organisation’s ability to mine social media channels, they may react against an organisation that uses their data against their wishes.”

Steve Griffin of Unisys at a CIO roundtable discussion
Steve Griffin of Unisys at a CIO roundtable discussion
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Even though consumers can’t actually control an organisation’s ability to mine social media channels, they may react against an organisation that uses their data against their wishes.

Steve Griffin, Unisys NZ

According to Unisys, seven in 10 New Zealanders surveyed (73 percent of respondents) support monitoring publicly available information on social media to detect possible terrorist activity.

Sixty six percent likewise supports such monitoring to identify public issues or concerns, which could be anything from global warming or the state of the economy through to local issues.

However, 69 percent are not comfortable with social media monitoring for organisations to make targeted advertising or offers.

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“Global reports of social media being used by terrorists are likely to have influenced the New Zealand public’s broad acceptance for authorities to monitor these channels for public safety and national security purposes. The possibility of preventing a terrorist act before it happens is appealing,” notes Griffin.

Kiwis are discerning about the circumstances in which social media monitoring is acceptable, he states.

While 63 percent of New Zealanders surveyed support monitoring social media to evaluate job candidates in positions of trust such as carers or teachers, there is less support (59 percent) to use such monitoring to track an organisation’s performance or reputation. And there is very little support, only 30 percent, for using this information for targeted marketing such as advertising and personalised offers.

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

Read more: Preparing for the digital economy? Think bi-modal, says Gartner

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