The internet’s development has had a transformative effect on consumers and industries, but it hasn’t engendered much trust along the way. In fact, just 53% of adults in the US say they generally trust the internet, according to results from a Centre for International Governance Innovation survey. Globally, the result wasn’t much better, with just 56% saying that overall, they trust the internet.
Interestingly, respondents around the world place more trust in ISPs (66%), online and mobile banking platforms (65%) and search engines (61%) than they do the internet in general.
The biggest reason people don’t trust the internet is because they believe it’s not secure (65%) or reliable (40%), per the report. Additionally, almost 30% believe that the internet is controlled by corporate elites, by their government, by foreign governments and/or does not allow for private communications.
In response, users are altering their online behavior primarily by disclosing less personal information (49%), taking greater care to secure their devices (40%) and using the internet more selectively (40%). Only a small fraction of users resort to using the internet less often (12%) or incorporating technological tools (11%) to combat the issue, though.
Security concerns also influence users when they interact with online applications. Among those who don’t trust the internet, actions taken include limiting the types (26%) and number (23%) of applications they use, as well as how much (20%) they use them. Other research has similarly found that privacy concerns have led to action around mobile apps: half reported having deleted an app due to such concerns, with many (38%) also having stopped using one.
A corresponding unease about online privacy is also prevalent around the world. Some 56% of North Americans agree to being more concerned about their privacy on the internet, compared to a year ago, which is right around the 55% total global average. These figures show a slight increase over the previous year’s survey results, when 53% of North Americans said they were more concerned about their online privacy.
About the Data: The report is based on a survey of approximately 1,000 individuals in 24 countries for a total of 24,225 people, weighted to match the population in each country surveyed. In the US and Canada, respondents were aged 18-64, whereas respondents were aged 16-64 in all other countries.
Subscribe now to receive more charts and articles like this in your inbox. A fast read in a clean, mobile-friendly design.