network security researchMore than 8 in 10 people living across 24 countries (83%) believe there should be new rules regarding how companies, governments and other users make use of personal data, according to new research about Internet security attitudes. The research was commissioned by the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and conducted by research company Ipsos. Eighty-five percent of people surveyed also believe governments should work in close collaboration, as well as with organizations, to enhance the safety and security of the Internet.

The 2016 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust was released in Geneva April 18 at the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development E-Commerce Week.

Internet Security Attitudes
Nearly 6 in 10 respondents to the Internet security attitudes survey (57%) said they were more concerned about online privacy and personal data security this year than last. Just under 4 in 10 (38%) believed their Internet activities weren’t monitored, while less than half (46%) said they trusted their online activities were not being censored.

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“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 Program and co-director of the Global Commission on Internet Governance, was quoted in a press release.

“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.”

Just 3 in 10 respondents agreed their government is doing enough to assure private companies don’t infringe on individuals’ privacy and personal data. The same percentage agreed that private businesses are doing enough to assure that governments don’t do the same.

internet security attitudes
Internet Security Behavioral Changes (Source: 2016 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey)

Furthermore, more than 8 in 10 (83%) said they had changed their online behavior in an attempt to control the amount of personal information available online. This ranges from avoiding opening emails (55%) to engaging in fewer online financial transactions, or even using the Internet less often (11%).

The fact that the issue merits its own week-long U.N. conference highlights just how fast and far Internet use has spread, as well as the vital role it plays in the global, as well as national economies. “Protecting the privacy of Internet users is a key policy challenge in which every human being has a stake,” Torbjörn Fredriksson, who leads UNCTAD’s work on e-commerce and development, commented. “The findings within this survey underline the importance of accentuating the multi-stakeholder dialogue on how to create greater trust in online transactions.”

“The results of the global survey demonstrate that the rules, actors and models of governance around how personal data is used online must change,” said Ipsos Global Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker. “The survey data tells us that global citizens are increasingly uneasy and deeply concerned about the fact that no clear rules currently exist to hold actors such as national governments or private companies to account in the use and sharing of personal data online. As global citizens become more hesitant about their conduct online, there is a clear desire to see these actors cooperate in finding new, bold and innovative ways to govern the Internet.”

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