Internet access considered human right; multi-stakeholder governance of online world favoured: CIGI-Ipsos global survey

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A survey of Internet users in 24 countries has found that 83% believe affordable access to the Internet should be a basic human right, according to the “CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust.”

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A survey of Internet users in 24 countries has found that 83% believe affordable access to the Internet should be a basic human right, according to the “CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust.”

The results of the new survey, commissioned by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and conducted by global research company Ipsos, were presented today in Ottawa, Canada.

According to responses, two thirds of Internet users are more concerned today about online privacy than they were compared to one year ago (64%). When given a choice of various governance sources for the Internet, the majority (57%) chose multi-stakeholder model “of technology companies, engineers, non-governmental organizations and institutions that represent the interests and will of ordinary citizens, and governments.”

The survey of 23,326 users was carried out between October 7 and November 12, 2014 in: 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.

Among the top areas of concern for Internet users, criminal hacking into personal bank accounts (78%) ranks highest followed by stolen personal information, such as private messages and photos, through hacking (77%), and further followed by private companies monitoring the activities of Internet users and then selling that information for commercial purposes without explicit consent (74%).

“The remarkable findings of this survey of global attitudes dramatically underscore that fears about human security have moved from the physical world to now include the virtual world. There is a gaping trust deficit in the Internet as people around the globe increasingly worry that their online identities and communications will be compromised or stolen by those who operate in the dark recesses of the Internet,” says Fen Hampson, Director of CIGI’s Global Security & Politics Program. “Unless trust is restored in the Internet through creative governance innovations its real potential to promote human development and global prosperity will be severely compromised.”

Other concerns focused on governments and institutions with a full majority of Internet users worried about important institutions in their country being cyber attacked by a foreign government or terrorist organization. Two-thirds of Internet users are concerned about governments censoring the Internet and government agencies from other countries secretly monitoring their online activities.

“Overwhelming global public support for the idea that access to the Internet should be a human right also shows just how important the Internet has come to freedom of expression, freedom of association, social communication, the generation of new knowledge, and economic opportunity and growth,” says Hampson. “Right now, one third of the world's population is online but two-thirds of the world's population is not. Unless they are brought online, a world of Internet ‘have and have-nots’ will not only contribute to income inequality, but also stifle the world's full potential for prosperity and innovation.”

When it comes to governance, Internet users prefer the broadest form of representation through a multi-stakeholder model that represents the interests and will of ordinary citizens as well as governments. Only 48% of Internet users believe their government does a very good job of making sure the Internet in their country is safe and secure, which underlines the wariness of the role of governments in Internet governance.

The CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust will be presented on November 25 to the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG). The GCIC, an initiative by CIGI and Chatham House, is meeting from November 24 to 25 in Ottawa, to articulate and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance.

QUICK FACTS ON ATTITUDES OF INTERNET USERS

On access:

  • 83% believe affordable access to the Internet should be a basic human right.
  • 81% say the Internet is important for their own economic future and livelihood.

On privacy and monitoring:

  • 64% are concerned about their online privacy compared to one year ago.
  • 36% believe private information on the Internet is very secure.
  • 74% are concerned about private companies monitoring online activities and selling that information for commercial purposes without explicit consent.
  • 62% are concerned about government agencies from other countries secretly monitoring their online activity
  • 61% are concerned about their government agencies secretly monitoring their online activity

On cyber attacks and censorship:

  • 72% are concerned about important institutions in their country being cyber-attacked by a foreign government or terrorist organization.
  • 78% are concerned about a criminal hacking into their personal bank accounts.
  • 77% are concerned about someone hacking into their online accounts and stealing personal information like photos and private messages.
  • 64% are concerned about governments censoring the Internet.

On governance:

  • 57% would trust a combined body of technology companies, engineers, non-governmental organizations and institutions that represent the interests and will or ordinary citizens and governments to play an important role in running the Internet.
  • 47% would trust their own government to play an important role in running the Internet.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
For more information and to see additional data collected as part of the CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, please visit: http://www.cigionline.org/internet-security.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Kevin Dias, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.497.9112 Email: kdias(at)cigionline(dot)org

Tammy Bender, Communications Manager, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 7356 Email: tbender(at)cigionline(dot)org

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit http://www.cigionline.org.

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Kevin Dias
Centre for International Governance Innovation
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