Proposed data retention laws, increased surveillance and the leaking of private information are some of the biggest concerns among readers who have taken part in The Age's series on privacy.
About 20 per cent of readers' concerns related to a controversial proposal being considered by the federal government that would force telecommunications companies to store the data of all Australians' internet activity for two years.
Many respondents said their data could be misused under the plan. One, Sean Fremder, described any move by the government to retain data as a "perpetual fishing expedition".
"This two-year mandatory data-retention program imposed on ISPs would be tantamount to the government having required Australia Post to open and photocopy every written postage item and keep that copy of the content for two years," he said.
Other readers feared the proposals would have a chilling effect on online communication or leave data collected by the government open to exploitation by hackers.
Increased surveillance, particularly through CCTV cameras, also cropped up as an important issue, with more than 10 per cent of responses raising this as a concern.
"I am particularly concerned about the street surveillance cameras, internet surveillance and road surveillance," one reader said. "I fear the young will not be able to make minor errors without them being held against them for life."
Another reader suggested new laws and licence fees to stop the spread of CCTV cameras: "Anyone with a CCTV camera or cameras that peer into public space should pay a substantial licence fee. That includes banks and speed cameras. It is an invasion of privacy and there should be a prohibitive cost to that."
The third most common concern related to privacy breaches, with some readers detailing incidents in which sensitive information about them had been leaked and used against them.
Others were concerned that cloud computing — in which large amounts of information are stored online around the world — increased the risk of private information ending up in the wrong hands.
The Age has received more than 150 detailed responses from readers in the past two days about their privacy concerns. Other issues raised included the storage of information collected by smart meters, online medical records and targeted advertising on sites such as Facebook.
A small number of readers, such as Richard Friend, said they had no concerns about privacy. "The benefits of using credit cards, loyalty cards and having CCTV in the city far outweigh any concern that someone else might know something about me. If that's what puts excitement in their life, who cares?"
The Age has launched a series on privacy and wants to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit us on Facebook at facebook.com.au/theprivacyquestion or use the Twitter hashtag #ageprivacy.