“Internet Safety: The State of the Nation,” research by the government and industry online safety campaign, Get Safe Online (www.getsafeonline.org), has found that more than half (53%) of internet users would support the introduction of an “Internet Test”.
The test, like that for a driving licence, would determine whether an individual would be allowed onto the web and and would ensure that users are familiar with the risks and their responsibilities.
When asked for solutions to online crime, 14% agreed that such a test would be “very successful” in bringing internet fraud down, while a further 39% thought it would be “fairly successful”. Just 9% felt that this would have no impact at all on reducing overall levels of online fraud.
However, the strongest call from internet users was for more education in schools so that young people are better-equipped to protect themselves from new criminal threats. Over three quarters (78%) agreed that this would be successful. A similar proportion (73%) felt that internet service providers and other internet businesses should have a greater role in promoting education and awareness.
Less popular were levies or taxes on e-commerce providers to subsidise consumer fraud losses – just 44% thought that such a move would be successful in reducing online crime.
Tony Neate, managing director of Get Safe Online said: “Education campaigns are exactly where we should focus our efforts when it comes to tackling the problem of online crime. “Get Safe Online is an important joint initiative between the government, law enforcement and leading businesses, with the aim of helping individuals and small companies to safeguard themselves against the threats of online crime. One of the ways we do this is by providing expert advice and guidance through our website, www.getsafeonline.org, that is easy to understand, neutral and trusted .”
Dominic Grounsell, head of broadband acquisition at BT, said: "The Get Safe Online research hows that broadband users are increasingly using wireless, but are still concerned about the security risks it opens up. Educating consumers about these threats and how to effectively combat them means that they can begin to feel safer and more confident when they’re online, whether they’re using the internet at home, in the office or on the move."
Garreth Griffith, head of Trust and Safety at eBay.co.uk, adds: “While an Internet Test has a certain novelty, education is clearly the way forward. As established online businesses have become more secure, criminals have turned their attentions to the consumer. If we can equip children and adults alike with the tools and information about how to avoid the common pitfalls, we can beat the problem altogether.”
* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,441 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd - 5th March 2007. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).