Majority of Australians Comfortable With Monitoring Social Media to Identify Terrorist Activity, But Not for Marketing – Unisys Research Finds


Australian unisys-newpublic support for data mining social media varies depending on its purpose

New research from Unisys Corporation reveals that a majority of Australians support monitoring social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to detect possible terrorist activity and to identify public issues and concerns.

Unisys Security Insights1 is a global study that provides insights into the attitudes of consumers on a range of security issues. The study, conducted in Australia by Newspoll, surveyed 1,210 adults during April 2015. 

Almost eight in ten Australians surveyed (79 percent) support monitoring publically available information on social media to detect possible terrorist activity, and 68 percent support 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, 68 percent are not comfortable with social media monitoring for organisations to make targeted advertising or offers.

% of Australians comfortable with social media monitoring for specific purposesunysis

“The use of social media by terrorists has been widely reported and has clearly had an impact on the Australian public’s acceptance of the need for authorities to monitor these channels for public safety and national security purposes,” says Mr John Kendall, security program director, Unisys Asia Pacific.

“However, Australians clearly take into account the objectives of such monitoring to discern whether it is acceptable. There is moderate support to monitor social media to track an organisation’s performance or to evaluate job candidates in positions of trust such as carers or teachers. But there is very little support – only 27 percent approval – for using this information for marketing. Perhaps this is seen as too personal and invasive.

“When consumers attempt to balance privacy, security and convenience, security generally outweighs convenience as a reason to encroach on privacy. However, organisations must be clear about why they are collecting data and how they will protect it, as the public is not comfortable having it used for a purpose they think is unnecessary,” Mr Kendall advises.

1About Unisys Security Insights

Unisys Security Insights is global research that provides insights into the attitudes of consumers on a range of security related issues. The survey was conducted in April and May 2015 by Lieberman Research group in Latin America, Europe, Malaysia and the U.S.; and by Newspoll in Australia and New Zealand. Responses are from nearly 11,000 people in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. For more information, visit

About Unisys

Unisys is a global information technology company that solves organizations’ most pressing IT and business challenges. With more than 20,000 employees serving clients around the world, our offerings include cloud and infrastructure services, application services, business process outsourcing services, and high-end server technology.  For more information, visit Follow us on and

About Unisys Asia Pacific

In Asia Pacific, Unisys delivers services and solutions through subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan and through distributors or resellers in other countries in the region.  For more information visit  Follow us on