Most People Don’t Trust Anybody Online, From Retailers to Governments


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A majority of people across the globe are more concerned about their internet privacy than they were last year, according to a new international survey.

The 2017 Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust found that 55 percent of people are more concerned about online privacy than they were last year, with the largest increase found in Latin America, Brazil, India and China. The drivers of concern were cybercriminals and data breaches of online shopping companies. The majority of respondents would be likely to stop using an online service if it was breached, regardless what kind of information was stolen.

Attitudes about how both domestic and foreign privacy violations also drove the increase in overall distrust. A narrow majority lack trust in their own governments to “act responsibly online,” and two-thirds say “their own government is a contributing source of concern about their online privacy,” but doesn’t specify how. 

The report was based on the responses of 24,225 internet users from 24 countries to a survey conducted by the Global Commission on Internet Governance.

The findings are in line with other studies, such as a 2016 study by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications & Information Administration showing that people are becoming less trust of internet privacy, which leads to a decline in online economic activity.

It is generally citizens of advanced economies that express the greatest skepticism towards internet privacy. For example, the countries with the fewest number of citizens with a propensity to use online payment systems are Germany, France and Japan. The same three countries, along with South Korea, show the lowest overall trust in the internet.

The U.S. falls on the more skeptical side with most of the other G-8 industrialized countries in its lack of trust in most categories such as shopping, government activity and online payment systems.

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