We recently surveyed Australian radio amateurs regarding data privacy and open access to personal details obtained via the ACMA website, callbooks and callsign lists.
77% of those surveyed were dissatisfied that their private information was so publicly available.
Only 23% of respondents wished to maintain the current unrestricted access to licence data.
The remainder either wanted to see it stopped entirely (27%), modified to remove specific address information (28%) or opt out provisions enabled (22%).
The survey results are statistically significant.
We have passed the findings on to ACMA, and have requested that they provide an opt out mechanism for those amateurs who wish their details to remain private.
The survey questions and methodology are detailed below.
Question – Callsign Lists and Data Privacy
Callsign lists (Callbooks) containing names and station addresses have been a part of Amateur Radio for around 100 years. RASA has received mixed responses on this subject, with some Amateurs getting a lot of value out of such lists for QSL activity, or as a means to contact old friends.
This information is also freely available via the ACMA website.
In more recent years with the advent of the internet and varying concerns over data privacy, identity theft and personal security, some foreign Administrations have restricted the public availability of this data. RASA has received comments by individuals not wanting their contact details to be published in the public domain.
The RASA Management Team has concluded that the best way forward is to ask Amateurs at large what they think about this issue by launching the survey below.
The results of this survey will form the basis of the RASA position on this topic. However, it should be noted that the ACMA controls the source information and maintains a final say in how the information will be used.
Do you believe that publicly available callsign lists, which show the Name, Callsign and registered address of all Amateurs:
- Should continue to be made available with ALL address details of amateurs remaining on the lists.
- Should be stopped entirely
- Should continue, but only reveal suburb/town detail and suppress street address information
- Should continue with full details as before, but allow that Amateurs can 'opt-out' and request that their details are suppressed
RASA used the Survey Monkey online survey tool. The survey was made available online to all Australian amateurs with internet access. We did not target specific interest groups.
Links to the survey were provided on our website, Bulletins distributed to clubs and members via email and were also made available on various Facebook pages.
The survey was also advertised on the very popular vkclassifieds website during June. The only requirement was that respondents needed to have internet access.
We utilised statistical theory and on-line calculators to determine our survey size, as detailed at the link below:
We used the following metrics.
- Population size: 14,000 (probably too large given many amateurs are not active, and many don’t really care about the hobby enough to take an interest).
- Margin of error: 5%
- Confidence Level: 95%
- Recommended sample size: 374 (actual number of respondents was 377)
The survey was conducted between 2nd June and 25th June 2019.
We concluded the survey once the recommended sample size was reached.
The results presented in this paper reflect the opinions of the broad community within the specifications provided above.