OVH Barometer on Digital Society - Personal data: To share or not to share?

Toronto, March 1, 2018

OVH Barometer on Digital Society - Personal data: To share or not to share?

OVH, one of the top largest cloud computing providers in the world, has released its third set of findings from the OVH Barometer on the Digital Society. The barometer polled 2,000 residents of both Ontario and Quebec (1,000 in each province) for their thoughts and feedback on sharing data in the digital economy.

When asked under which circumstances Ontarians would share their personal data, the following were the results:

• 42 per cent said to improve or guarantee their personal safety
• 33 per cent said to improve travel time
• 32 per cent said to save time daily (online shopping, invoice payment etc.)
• 29 per cent said to avoid line ups
• 27 per cent said to improve their dialogue/interaction with public services
• While 39 per cent hope they never have to share their personal information

"The results pertaining to personal data are interesting because while there's a belief that technology has clear benefits, Ontarians are still hesitant to relinquish their personal information, even for the greater good," says Guillaume Gilbert, communications officer, at OVH. "Technology and the way we use it is changing fast and it will be interesting to see how the opinions of residents change over the next five years."

The barometer also examined the use, or potential use, of digital tools and data in public services to gauge both interest and demand.

Ontarians believe access to public data is key to enhanced democracy
When respondents were asked if public data enhanced democracy, responses in both Ontario and Quebec were overwhelmingly aligned, with 85 per cent indicating that access to economic, social and other information on their city or province would enhance democracy. Interestingly, the older population in Ontario (55+) was the highest age group (30 per cent) who felt that democracy would be enhanced "a lot" with access to public information, while those making $100K+ also skewed the highest, at 33 per cent.

Digital tools for public institutions
According to the barometer, when asked if digital tools would be preferred when dealing with public institutions at the provincial or municipal level, an overwhelming 92 per cent of respondents in Ontario said they would be useful or somewhat useful. Ironically, millennial respondents were less inclined to find these digital tools useful, compared to older respondents aged 55+, although only two per cent of all respondents said they would not be useful at all.

Best use of technology in a city?
Overall in Ontario, respondents found public safety, including emergency services, came in first at 37 per cent. Second was public transit at 30 per cent. Infrastructure, such as public works, came in at 19 per cent, while urban development took up the rear at 14 per cent. Interestingly, those residing in Ottawa thought technology was best used with public transportation (43 per cent), while 38 per cent of Torontonians gave the TTC top marks, those sentiments were particularly strong among those 18-34 years of age.

In Ontario, the digital apps most sought after were:

• An app that reveals your geographic location, as well as nearby emergency services in the event of a breakdown or accident (37 per cent)
• An app that reports dangerous conditions or obstacles on the road (24 per cent)
• An app listing all free and paid parking locations near you (21 per cent)
• An app that gives you all available modes of transportation (bus, train plane etc.) and costs to travel (18 per cent)

The majority of Ontarians (80 per cent) felt that it was important or very important for public institutions to invest in digital management systems to better gauge energy use, lighting and sensors etc. Of the age groups, millennials led the way with 61 per cent finding this important, as opposed to 48 per cent of those between the ages of 25 and 54.

"With the deployment of the digital economy, the relationship between consumers and businesses has been completely transformed by the information flow. The results of the study show that Quebecers and Ontarians fervently want this shift to take place at the public institutions level. As citizens, they are under the impression that they will reap benefits. Indeed, they consider that the development of digital tools will facilitate their relations with public institutions and even promote the expression of local democracy," explains Stéphane Gendron, Vice President of CROP.

Editors note: The OVH Barometer was conducted with the purpose of better understanding the opinions of Ontario and Quebec residents on aspects of the digital society. This study is based on a quantitative survey conducted online between July 21 and July 28, 2017 with a panel representative of the Ontario and Quebec populations. More specifically, it was conducted with 2,000 respondents, 1,000 in Ontario and 1,000 in Quebec. Results were weighted to reflect the population distributions in Ontario and Quebec, based on sex, age, first language, and level of education among the respondents.

Active in Canada since 2012, OVH has rolled out four business units, in Montreal, Beauharnois, Quebec City and Toronto, which employs more than 200 people. Its 360,000-server data center on the South Shore of Montreal has broadened its accessibility and made it possible for OVH to serve nearly one million customers worldwide, making the Montreal region one of the largest data centers in the world.

About OVH

OVH is a global hyper-scale cloud provider that offers innovative products and services focusing on private, public and hybrid cloud, and bare metal. Founded in 1999, the company is an established partner for more than a million of professionals worldwide. OVH owes its success not only to a development model built on innovation, but also to maintaining full control over the supply chain, from server manufacturing and in-house maintenance of its infrastructure right down to customer support. OVH ensures stable and reliable product and service offerings to clients across all its brands, while providing the best value.