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Asia Pacific consumers lack confidence in online security, says survey

More than 70% of e-commerce consumers in Asia Pacific do not believe their personal data is properly protected, and 90% are uncomfortable with giving their bank details online, according to a survey by the Internet Society. 28 Jul 2017

Over 55% of respondents say they are unlikely to use online services if there are no guarantees of their personal information being protected, and 85% said they would like to be told what information is being collected about them, the survey found.

The top five concerns expressed by respondents were cybersecurity, access, data protection, connectivity and privacy. These concerns were generally consistent across gender, age groups, geography and income groups, the society said.

2,072 people from 40 economies across the Asia-Pacific region answered the survey. The majority (87%) were members of the Internet Society, and were male (79%). Respondents were scattered across all age groups, but 53% were between 15 and 34 years old, 27% were aged 35 to 44, and the remaining 20% were 45 years or older.

Women comprised 21% of the overall respondents. While their profile was similar to that of the overall sample population, women listed internet access as their top policy concern, followed by cybersecurity, data protection, privacy and connectivity.

When asked about issues that need urgent attention from policymakers, women included freedom of expression and government and commercial surveillance while men prioritised e-commerce and the internet of things.

Respondents felt that the internet became more regulated in 2016, which affected their online behaviour in both positive and negative ways. Related concerns included increased surveillance that violates privacy rights and increased censorship and blocking of sites that affects freedom of expression

However, people also cited a lack of online child protection and the need to regulate fake news.

Respondents tended to trust traditional services such as banks, public authorities and health institutions over online service providers, the Internet Society said.

Firms and institutions hold a growing amount of personal data, it said. with 73% of respondents saying they have disclosed information about themselves to banks and financial services, 63% to national public authorities, 55% to e-commerce sites and 51% to online content and service providers.

Technology law specialist Bryan Tan of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint venture partner of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "The survey is interesting because although cybersecurity has been in the top five for the past four years, it clearly has become the top policy priority mainly because it is the one issue that cuts across all internet groups, whether small, large, developed or under-developed."