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Security concerns related to data breaches and loose government surveillance have made Americans reduce their online activity.
A recent survey conducted by the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration on 41,000 American homes has shown that half of the surveyed homes have scaled back on their online activities due to fears related to cybercrime.
The survey was published last Friday, and the results show people are taking limiting online activities measures to keep safe from data violations.
As much as 29% of them avoid online finances and 26% skip shopping online. Similar amounts skip posting online and, interestingly, 19% refuse to give controversial opinions online. 63% of those surveyed fear identity theft and 45% are afraid of fraud.
An amount of 23% fear online services might chip on their personal data and 18% are bothered by the idea that the government might collect private data. Almost 13% fear for their general safety.
Money seems to be the primary driving force behind these security concerns, followed by surveillance leaks.
This survey is the first (published) effort of this scale to have ever tried to capture the consumer’s beliefs and behavior. After some recent major data breaches reported by Home Depot, health insurance bearer Anthem, and retail company Target there was a need for such a study.
The survey’s results might not be healthcare specific, but it has significant implications on the emerging digital health trend. By some opinions, data trust is a health product on its own, and info privacy and security shouldn’t be just a desirable feature.
The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) plans on conducting further similar studies.
The NTIA researchers believe the government should keep pushing for stronger encryption methods and privacy protection to encourage public confidence. And so should governments all over the world. Otherwise, they risk hurting the countries’ economy.
Mounting online security concerns and statistics like the ones offered from surveys like this one made the need to develop better digital legislation prominent for our policy-makers.
The question is, how long will it take for officials to officiate the policies and eliminate these public security concerns. Until the effect of these protection measures is instated probably, more online fraud cases will emerge and more people will keep offline.
Image courtesy of Yuri Samoilov