A global Ipsos survey of internet users has found that 87 per cent Indians believe that affordable access to the internet should be a basic Human Right. The study also found that eight out of ten or 83 per cent Indian internet users are more concerned today about online privacy than they were compared to one year ago.
The CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, undertaken by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and conducted by global research company Ipsos, also found that when given a choice of various governance sources to effectively run the world-wide internet, a large majority of Indians i.e. 79 per cent chose the multi-stakeholder option—a “combined body of technology companies, engineers, non-governmental organisations and institutions that represent the interests and will of ordinary citizens, and governments.”
“In terms of top overall levels of concern of Indians, it’s criminal hacking into personal bank accounts (84 per cent) that heads the list followed by concern about someone hacking into users online accounts and stealing their personal information like photos and private messages (83 per cent) and a private company monitoring their online activities (such as their internet surfing habits) and then selling that information for commercial purposes without their explicit consent (82 per cent),” said Biswarup Banerjee, Head Marketing Communication – India, Ipsos.
Following on concerns about invasive criminal or marketing incursions that might affect them personally come broader based concerns related to governments and institutions – a full majority of 84 per cent users are concerned about important institutions in their country being cyber attacked by a foreign government or terrorist organization.
Even if coincidentally, a majority of Indian internet users i.e. 62 per cent have heard something about Edward Snowden, the US government contractor who leaked documents to the media showing how the United States and other national governments had been secretly tapping into personal online accounts to collect information about people around the world.
As noted above, Indian internet users appear clearly and cleanly divided into two camps: 83 per cent who are more concerned about online privacy today compared to a year ago and the majority 57 per cent who were not. This is reflected in the fact that 43 per cent Indians disagree that private information on the Internet is very secure and 49 per cent who also disagree that sharing personal information with private companies online is something that they do all the time.
Governance of the internet on a local and global basis has been an increasing part of the online dialogue because of these growing concerns among users affected by unwanted and often alarming intrusive behaviors. Various models have been proposed but it’s clear that, when tested among global users, it’s the multi-stakeholder form of governance – that includes citizens, and not just experts, international institutions or combinations of countries – that has the appeal of 79 per cent when it comes to overseeing the running of the Internet. This top option is followed by their own government with 77 per cent, an international body of engineers and technical experts and United Nations with 72 per cent each, International technology companies with 71 per cent, and the United States with 60 per cent.
The importance of the Internet – both today and in the future – for users can’t be underestimated: the vast majority of Indians Internet users (87 per cent) believe that affordable access to the Internet should be a basic human right.