2019 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust: More trust in the internet is needed to promote digital economy

11 Jun 2019

Ipsos on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), in partnership with the Internet Society (ISOC) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), conducted a global survey on internet security and trust of over 25,000 internet users worldwide. “The CIGI-Ipsos survey provides us with compelling evidence to help make decisions, shape policy and channel resources to reduce the digital divide in a way that is safe and still creates opportunities for development,” noted director of UNCTAD’s division on technology and logistics Shamika N. Sirimanne. The survey covers six key areas: a) internet security, online privacy and trust; b) social media, fake news and algorithms; c) product security: internet of things and other internet-enabled devices; d) cryptocurrencies, blockchain, dark web and product certification and e) cross-border data flows. Among the key findings of the survey is that 75% of those surveyed who do not trust the internet referred this to social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter among others. Also, 62% ascribed this to the lack of internet security. Additionally, the survey unveiled a digital divide between developed and developing economies vis-à-vis cryptocurrencies and other new internet frontiers. Individuals surveyed in developed countries were four times more inclined to buy cryptocurrencies with the next year compared to those in developing countries. According to UNCTAD, such survey can help developing countries design good internet governance and protection policies.

Explore the issues

The Internet of Things (IoT) includes a wide range of Internet-connected devices, from highly digitalised cars, home appliances (e.g. fridges), and smart watches, to digitalised clothes that can monitor health. IoT devices are often connected in wide-systems, typically described as 'smart houses' or 'smart cities'.

Privacy and data protection are two interrelated Internet governance issues. Data protection is a legal mechanism that ensures privacy. Privacy is usually defined as the right of any citizen to control their own personal information and to decide about it (to disclose information or not). Privacy is a fundamental human right. It is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional human rights conventions. The July 2015 appointment of the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age reflects the rising importance of privacy in global digital policy, and the recognition of the need to address privacy rights issues the the global, as well as national levels.

The human rights basket includes online aspects of freedom of expression, privacy and data protection, rights of people with disabilities and women’s rights online. Yet, other human rights come into place in the realm of digital policy, such as children’s rights, and rights afforded to journalists and the press.

The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online is the underlying principle for human rights on the Internet, and has been firmly established by the UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council resolutions.

The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.

The digital divide can be defined as a rift between those who, for technical, political, social, or economic reasons, have access and capabilities to use ICT/Internet, and those who do not. Various views have been put forward about the size and relevance of the digital divide.


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