Trust on the Internet is in decline‚ CIGI-Ipsos global survey shows

18 April 2016 - 16:41 By TMG Digital

Consumers are increasingly worried about their online privacy and security‚ especially when it comes to ‎how their personal data is handled by private corporations and governments. This is according to a survey commissioned by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and conducted by global research company Ipsos across 24 countries‚ including South Africa.It found that a majority of global citizens (83%) believe that there need to be new rules about how companies‚ governments and other users use personal data.Released on Monday to coincide with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development E-Commerce Week in Geneva‚ the 2016 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust findings also show that a strong majority (85%) also believe that their governments should work closely with other governments and organisations to make the Internet more safe and secure.When asked about online privacy‚ a majority of global citizens (57%) were more concerned about their online privacy compared to one year ago‚ with only a minority of global citizens (38%) trusting that their activities on the Internet were not monitored‚ and similarly less than half of respondents (46%) trusting that their activity online were not being censored.“The centrality of trust in informing the attitudes of global citizens about Internet security is perhaps one of the most crucial findings of the global survey. Internet users are expressing a clear lack of trust in the current set of rules and‚ more importantly‚ in the actors that oversee the sharing and use of personal data online‚” Fen Hampson‚ director of CIGI’s Global Security & Politics Programme and co-director of the Global Commission on Internet Governance‚ said in a statement. “There is an overwhelming consensus among respondents that the Internet is everyone’s issue‚ and that no single actor or institution is absolved of responsibility or can be trusted more than others in the pursuit of its effective governance.”“Protecting the privacy of Internet users is a key policy challenge in which every human being has a stake‚” said Torbjörn Fredriksson‚ leading UNCTAD's work on e-commerce and development. “The findings within this survey underline the importance of accentuating the multi-stakeholder dialogue on how to create greater trust in online transactions.”When it came to perceptions of who global citizens felt they could trust to keep personal information safe and secure‚ only three in ten (30%) respondents agreed that their own government is currently doing enough to keep personal information secure and safe from private companies‚ and similarly three in ten (31%) agreed that private companies are doing enough to keep personal information secure and safe from governments.Most (83%) global citizens appear to have changed their online behaviour in an effort to control the amount of personal information that is being shared online. The behaviour ranges from minor changes such as avoiding opening emails from unknown email addresses (55%) to more substantial changes such as doing fewer financial transactions (23%)‚ or even using the Internet less often (11%).The survey of 24‚143 users‚ conducted between the dates of November 20 and December 4‚ 2015‚ included individuals from: Australia‚ Brazil‚ Canada‚ China‚ Egypt‚ France‚ Germany‚ Great Britain‚ Hong Kong‚ India‚ Indonesia‚ Italy‚ Japan‚ Kenya‚ Mexico‚ Nigeria‚ Pakistan‚ Poland‚ South Africa‚ South Korea‚ Sweden‚ Tunisia‚ Turkey and the United States.

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