The result of ongoing data breaches, increased online security concerns and privacy issues have scared off some Americans from going online.
The NTIA (National Telecommunications & Information Administration) study of more than 41,100 households that included security and privacy questions revealed that nineteen percent, "nearly 19 million households—reported that they had been affected by an online security breach, identity theft, or similar malicious activity during the 12 months." - says the report.
The most reoccurring concern was identity theft, which weighed in at sixty-three percent of those polled. However, the most shocking data came from questions regarding whether those households had stopped going online because of security and privacy concerns. The census revealed that "Forty-five percent of online households reported that these concerns stopped them from conducting financial transactions, buying goods or services, posting on social networks, or expressing opinions on controversial or political issues via the Internet, and 30 percent refrained from at least two of these activities."
This study was specific to the United States, but could easily be duplicated throughout the world. People are nervous about going online, and that doesn't seem to be getting any better, and this issue doesn't just affect the average Joe; it affects commerce and our global connectivity, which is necessary to promote a full economic, social, and political use of networked technologies. Keep in mind that the Internet has allowed populations all across the globe to bridge physical and economic divides.
What the world needs is stronger (unified) privacy protection for data, in order to promote trust in the Internet and other networked technologies.
Also published on Medium.