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

New Zealand public support for data mining social media depends on its purpose

WELLINGTON, 1 July, 2015 – New research from Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) reveals that the majority of New Zealanders 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 New Zealand by Newspoll, surveyed 503 adults during April 2015.

Seven in ten New Zealanders surveyed (73 percent of respondents) support monitoring publically available information on social media to detect possible terrorist activity and 66 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, 69 percent are not comfortable with social media monitoring for organisations to make targeted advertising or offers.

% of New Zealanders comfortable with social media monitoring for specific purposes

 Detect possible terrorist activity73%
 Identify public issues and concerns66%
 Evaluate job candidates for positions of trust63%
 Track public sentiment about an organisation59%
 Identify individuals for targeted advertising or  offers30%

“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,” says Mr Steve Griffin, country manager, Unisys New Zealand.

​“However, Kiwis are discerning about the circumstances in which social media monitoring is acceptable. 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. Perhaps we see this as too invasive.

“This means that organisations must not abuse their relationship with their customers and citizens in the way that they collect, analyse and use publically available data. 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,” Mr Griffin 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
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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

Unisys is a registered trademark of Unisys Corporation. All other brands and products referenced herein are acknowledged to be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.​


John Stewart, Botica Butler Raudon Partners,
09 303 3862,

Claire Hosegood, Unisys Asia Pacific, +61 411 253 663