The New Internet World Report 2011 by World Economic Forum
The New Internet WorldA Global Perspective on Freedom of Expression,Privacy, Trust and Security OnlineA contribution to:The Global Information Technology Report 2010–2011Transformations 2.0World Economic Forumin collaboration with:INSEADcomScoreOxford Internet InstituteApril 2011
AbstractAbstractSOUMITRA DUTTA, INSEADWILLIAM H. DUTTON, Oxford UniversityGINETTE LAW, INSEADWorldwide diffusion of the Internet is focusing debate • Users want it all: they desire freedom of expression,around values and attitudes that are likely to vary across privacy, trust, and security without viewing these ascultures, particularly around online freedom of expres- mutually exclusive.sion, privacy, trust, and security. These are prominent • Newly adopting countries are more liberal in atti-topics of discussion amongst leading Internet stakehold- tudes, such as support for freedom of expression,ers, such as private and public sector members, govern- and behaviours, such as use of social networkingments, policymakers, and the media. However, we know platforms, while older-adopting countries are morerelatively little about the opinions of users around the conservative, tied to more traditional Internet appli-world. How do users see these issues, and how do they cations and content.experience the impact of the Internet in these areas? This study reports the results of a survey of over These findings point to the beginning of a new5,400 adult Internet users from 13 different countries. Internet world in which the developing nations moveThe online survey was conducted by the Oxford into a leading role in shaping the use and governance ofInternet Institute (OII) and INSEAD, in collaboration this global network of networks.with comScore. It was designed to better understandcross-cultural differences in user behaviour and attitudes,focusing on the core Internet values of freedom of 3expression, privacy, trust, and security. Findings from this study show that a global Internetculture has emerged as users across countries often sharesimilar viewpoints and habits related to these vital mat-ters pertaining to the Internet. Users worldwide gener-ally support and desire the core Internet values, withoutsignalling a willingness for tradeoffs among these poten-tially conflicting values and priorities. However, users innations that are more recently embracing the Internet,who are becoming the dominant online population,express even greater support for the most basic valueunderpinning the Internet–freedom of expression. Inaddition, these users also outpace users in older-adopt-ing nations in their innovative uses of the Internet. Weconclude that a new Internet world is emerging whichmay lead to many shifts in the Internet’s global centre ofgravity–shifts that will have major implications for thefuture of the Internet.Key Findings: • There is a global culture developing around the Internet, in which users worldwide share similar values and attitudes related to online freedom of expression, privacy, trust, and security. • The newly emerging nations online, primarily in the developing regions of Asia and Latin and South America, are becoming the dominant nations online, having the greatest number of users, despite lower levels of adoption.
The New Internet WorldThe New Internet World: A Global Perspective on Freedomof Expression, Privacy, Trust and Security OnlineSOUMITRA DUTTA, INSEADWILLIAM H. DUTTON, Oxford UniversityGINETTE LAW, INSEADIntroduction • Are these values consistent with online userWorldwide, a growing number of individuals are con- behaviour?nected through the Internet and related information andcommunication technologies (ICTs), such as mobile Previous research has raised some of these ques-phones, personal computers, personal digital assistants tions, but has seldom marshalled sound empirical evi-(PDAs), tablets and other networked gadgets and elec- dence from a global perspective on specific user behav-tronic devices, which are themselves converging. The iours and attitudes. This is the first global study to pres-number of individuals connected to the Internet at ent a cross-national and cross-regional comparative per-home reached almost 1.6 billion in 2010.1 As of 2011, spective on the core Internet values.one-third of the world’s population has come online, Understanding and comparing the multiple dimen-and this number will not stop growing.2 As these new sions of users’ values and behaviours worldwide willtechnologies become integrated into everyday life and allow multiple stakeholders, from business leaders towork across a growing number of nations, a global, ver- online managers, policy-makers, regulators, and servicesus nation-centric, perspective on the Internet is increas- providers, to grasp the complex characteristics of today’singly vital. online world. This study yields a complete and exhaus- The global diffusion and ubiquitous nature of the tive picture of a new and evolving online world that isInternet have raised questions about online trust, priva- emerging, which readers need to understand in order to 5cy, security, and freedom of expression. Has such ubiqui- shape the future of the Internet.ty undermined or reinforced the values that character-ized the Internet’s early vitality? Do users’ online behav-iours reflect their attitudes? In today’s globalised and The Rise of Ubiquitous Technology in the 21st Century:networked world, are individuals becoming complacent Global Online Values and Concernsor more critical of certain values, such as privacy, as they Both Gartner and International Data Corporationadapt to an online world? Leaders across all industries, reported growth in personal computer shipments andgovernments, and civil society are increasingly con- mobile phone sales worldwide at the end of 2010.3 Ascerned about these issues and have begun to analyse new products, such as the Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxythem closely. Yet little is known about how individuals Tab, and Cisco Cius, entered the market this same year,perceive these issues pertaining to the Internet and sales for the reinvented media tablet were forecasted torelated ICTs. reach 19.5 million.4 These three electronic consumer The objective of this study is to understand and devices alone accounted for more than a billion newcompare worldwide Internet values through cross- Internet-enabled units on the market.national comparisons of indicators of Internet use and The beginning of the 21st century is marked by theactivities as well as attitudes and behaviours. More than rise of ubiquitous technology in everyday life. As more5,400 Internet users from 13 different countries com- and more people are connected to the Internet, today’spleted an online survey designed by the research team at networked society makes it increasingly difficult toINSEAD and the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), and remain offline. Consequently, individual citizens areadministered by comScore, to answer the following becoming more focused on the opportunities and risksquestions: electronic devices pose. For example, fewer than 35 per- cent of online users polled in a recent cross-national • How concerned are Internet users worldwide with survey trusted online information provided by govern- issues regarding online freedom of expression, pri- ments, online companies, or other Internet users.5 A vacy, trust, and security? BBC World Service poll conducted in 26 countries in • Do users place the same importance on each of the spring of 2010 indicated that nearly four in five these Internet values? adults (78 percent) felt that the Internet had brought them more freedom. Yet only 48 percent felt it was a • Do individuals from different countries, cultural tra- safe place to express their opinion, while 49 percent did ditions, and demographic groups regard these values not.6 In another global poll conducted that same year, in very different ways?
The New Internet World 65 percent of Internet users said they preferred to give These striking remarks give insight to some of the express permission before being monitored for web assumptions shaping the Internet today and will no searches and web page visits.7 Concerns about the core doubt have an impact on levels of online trust and con- Internet values have thus become of significant rele- cern about Internet-based privacy. They should not be vance for individuals in the digital age. dismissed, as they come from the offices of the Internet’s However, little is known about the values and atti- two most visited websites in 2010.17 tudes across the world of Internet users. We cannot Privacy and the protection of personal information assume that globalisation leads to the homogenisation of have been a concern since computers began to be used world cultures, which is why it is important to acknowl- in the public sector–long before the Internet became a edge the multicultural and multidimensional nature of popular medium in the 1990s. Yet fear and interest in online behaviour.8 Research has shown that value indi- the protection of privacy and personal data have been cators can be a robust explanation for or influence on heightened by the widespread diffusion of the Internet individual behaviours.9 For this reason, knowledge of and its use in a growing number of areas, including online values and attitudes will help readers better com- commerce and medical care. The rise of online social prehend the complexities of cross-national user behav- networks has also contributed to concern over individ- iours related to today’s most prevalent online concerns: ual privacy. Governments and law enforcement agencies freedom of expression, privacy, trust, and security on the have sought to increase security measures online in Internet. order to address such concerns.18 Concern about privacy transcends clichéd lines, Freedom of Expression Hoofnagle et al. (2010) found that young Americans The Internet has allowed individuals to express them- shared many of the same attitudes regarding online pri- selves freely, as well as given them the opportunity to vacy as older adults did, contrary to what the media had reach and join a wider audience.10 This has fostered the previously deduced from anecdotal evidence. Likewise, sharing of innovative ideas and interests. However, the one of the rare studies to focus on Internet users’ opin- pervasive nature of today’s technology ironically means ions about information privacy worldwide found that that individuals could become more self-conscious levels of apprehensiveness were very similar across cul- 6 about their actions and words, both online and offline, tures and regulatory regimes.19 and regulate their own expression. A recent BBC World On the other hand, Cho et al. (2009) tested levels Service poll (2010) showed that people were divided of online privacy concern in five international cities. about the Internet being a safe place to express personal Their results highlighted the conditional and multicul- opinions. tural nature of online privacy. This is why analysis of The debate over the extent and the value of indi- online behaviour at the individual and macro levels is vidual freedom is not new and continues to be con- suggested.20 Both Bellman’s and Cho’s studies concluded tentious. However, with users able to access content that a lack of Internet experience affects levels of con- from one location and upload it to another, the Internet cern. has further exposed differences in interpretations and Despite the heightened concern users across coun- concepts of freedom worldwide.11 These notions can be tries and ages express, several studies have shown that associated with freedom of expression or impeding they are often willing to share personal information for practices such as the use of security mechanisms, filter- other online trade-offs. Acquisti and Grossklags (2007) ing, and surveillance procedures often associated with highlight that users can be convinced to forego certain government authorities.12 Influential business organisa- levels of online privacy for economic concessions. Some tions and Internet service providers may also perform users might be willing to accept privacy-intrusive prac- actions that can cripple freedom online.13 Numerous tices from online businesses in exchange for immediate cases around the world, which have generated much dis- economic gratification, such as free movie tickets or cussion over the dimensions and value of online free- entry into a contest. Others might be willing to share dom, have sprung up over the last few years.14 their social network profile to increase their social capi- tal and network. Clark (1999) also suggests that users Privacy may exchange personal data for access to information or services. “If you have something you don’t want anybody to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.” Trust —Eric Schmidt, Google CEO (Dec. 2009)15 People are most often guarded about their privacy when they lack trust in others. Nearly all definitions of trust found involved a minimum of two agents: the one who “Privacy is dead.” must trust and the one who is trusted. The adoption of —Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of new technology could not occur without a minimum Facebook (January 2010)16 level of trust in both the device and the agents that
The New Internet Worldmaintain and operate it. Urban et al. (2009) point to definition of Internet security amongst the other types ofonline trust as a key factor to the Internet’s success. For security is limited to concerns related to spam, viruses,example, lack of trust in ubiquitous technology can sig- and online financial transactions.30 It fails to recognisenificantly hinder e-commerce.21 that other types of security threats, such as terrorism, Empirical research about online trust has mainly financial fraud, or identity theft could also belong to thisfocused on e-commerce or the adoption of the Internet category, and instead classifies them under categories ofand new technology. Yet many studies, such as Nielsen’s national, financial or personal security.Global Faces and Networked Places (2009) and the Pew Thus, the dimensions of online freedom, privacy,Research Center’s Generations 2010, indicate that the trust, and security are not simple and can overlap, caus-Internet is most widely used for e-mail and information ing conflicting Internet concerns and values. Cross-cul-search purposes, as well as social networking activities. tural differences and perceptions of these four issues can There are relatively few studies related to trust and further complicate how users worldwide manifest relat-these specific Internet uses. Dutton and Sheppard (2006) ed attitudes and behaviours. However, the rise of theexamined general trust of the Internet amongst British global networked society and ubiquitous technologyusers. They asserted that users with greater Internet skills highlights how important it is to know users’ opinionsand years of use normally have more trust in the and online actions to better understand today’s onlineInternet. They also suggested that other factors, such as environment.education, may impact levels of trust. However, as peo- In order to do this, we have carried out an onlineple become more familiar with the Internet, and begin survey to closely examine how Internet users perceiveto use it more frequently, they also increase their issues of online freedom of expression, privacy, trust, andchances of encountering problems such as spam or security. What importance do they give to these Internetviruses, issues that can undermine online trust.22 In values? Do attitudes and behaviours vary amongst indi-addition to years of use and levels of proximity to the viduals from different countries and demographictechnology, there are other interrelated elements that groups? Are online actions consistent with users’affect online levels of trust, such as security.23 Internet values?Security 7Notions of security have been studied from numerous Methodologyperspectives. According to Jenkins-Smith and Herron Data were collected from 5,400 adult Internet users in(2009), online security is “essentially a contested con- 13 different countries through the use of online surveys,cept, associated with contextual meanings that are designed by the research team and administered byextremely broad and variable.” Security concerns can comScore. These countries include Australia/Newrange widely, from an individual level (such as a person Zealand, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy,protecting her computers from viruses)24 to a national India, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, the United States,level (such as agencies monitoring suspicious or terrorist and the United Kingdom.activities).25 Although these concepts exist side by side, Data were collected from October 21, 2010 toand both involve government agencies, technical November 19, 2010. Invitations were issued toexperts, and members of the private sector, it is impor- comScore panelists by e-mail or through data collectiontant to make the distinction between the two.26 software that is installed on panellists’ computers in the Protective measures adopted for technical or cyber- form of a web-based pop-up window.security reasons inevitably have an impact on other con-cerns studied, such as freedom of expression or privacy. SamplingMany authors have noted the limiting effects of security The sample for this research study targeted the totalmechanisms over other individual rights and freedoms.27 online population in each of the targeted countries.A Gallup poll conducted in 2002, only months after the Targeted samples were generated by the system based on9/11 attacks, found that the American public was evenly this project’s specific quotas and sampling requirements.split about online freedom being reduced by monitoring The overall sample was stratified to the quota targetspractices for national security reasons.28 There has not that were set by comScore and the research team. Inbeen any substantial follow-up on the subject since. instances where general demographics (age, gender, and Often, research focuses instead on digital security income) in a given quota cell did not reflect the naturalin technical terms, informing the public about trends online population, sample weighting was applied.in phishing, spam, or malicious code, as the annualSymantec Global Internet Security Threat Report does.29 Questionnaire DesignUNISYS also publishes a bi-annual Security Index that The questionnaire was developed by combining ques-presents social indicators regarding users’ perceptions of tions from numerous previous studies that examinednational, financial, Internet, and personal security in 10 issues of trust, privacy, security, and freedom of expres-different countries. Though the study is quite robust, the sion online, as well as questions related to household
The New Internet World Figure 1: "Access to the Internet should be a fundamental right for all people." MEX BRA ZAF ITA UK GER AUS/NZ US IND ESP CAN FRA CHN 0 20 40 60 80 100 I Strongly disagree I Disagree I Neither agree nor disagree I Agree I Strongly agree Note: See page 1 for country abbreviations and sample sizes. 8 connectivity, personal use, and demographic and control (2000) to address this particular problem with web variables. These included questions from Oxford Internet surveys. Surveys (OxIs),31 the Pew Internet and American Life We acknowledge that these solutions are not per- Project,32 the BBC World Service,33 and comScore’s fect, yet it is important to note that no methodology is own surveys. flawless. Some of the problems found with online sur- veying are not unique to the Internet.34 Mail surveys or Limitations any self-selected or -administered questionnaire, for Since online surveying is a relatively new type of example, suffer from the same basic limitations. We’ve research method, it has faced some doubt related to tried our best to reduce these issues as much as possible. validity and bias. The most notable problems with online surveying are sampling and non-response bias. Using a proprietary panel management system to The Emergence of a Global Internet Culture effectively manage and optimize panels for the specific The rise of ubiquitous technology and the global net- needs of this study minimized sampling issues. worked society appears to have created a global Internet Respondents were recruited through comScore’s global culture, where users worldwide now generally share online panel, which includes more than 5 million many of the same perspectives, concerns, and attitudes Internet consumers. The quality of the panels was towards the Internet and new technology. Only small assured by comScore’s continuously refreshed pool of cross-national differences in users’ outlooks on the core respondents through global recruitment activities across Internet values were found. In fact, similar patterns of multiple recruiting sources, which include thousands of national variance were identified amongst countries. diverse sites. This reduced the possibility of collecting Furthermore, there was a statistically significant but falsified or biased data from repeated panellist members, weak correlation found between values and gender, age, a problem highlighted by certain researchers, such as income, and education. This points to the global Wright (2005). homogenisation of online values. Non-response issues were minimized by using Respondents expressed the strongest concern for mandatory answers in order to complete the entire items related to online security and trust. An over- survey. This is a solution that was proposed by Couper whelming majority (more than 70 percent) also strongly felt that access to the Internet should be a fundamental
The New Internet Worldright for all people, while there was general consensus in • whether new gadgets should be tested whensupport of new technology and the Internet, online invented; andfreedom of expression, and privacy. However, notable • whether society could function without newenthusiasm came from countries with the lower pene- technology.tration rates (India, Brazil, Mexico, China, and SouthAfrica), while roughly one-third of respondents in On average, 66 percent of all users agreed that newInternet-developed countries were more indifferent technology and the Internet had a positive impact onabout these issues. their lives and on society. Age, gender, and education Users want it all: they do not assume that core had no significant impact on results. Countries with theInternet values are mutually exclusive. They support highest proportion of users who agreed were again fromfreedom of expression and privacy on the Internet, while India, South Africa, and Mexico. Support was lowest inshowing great concern for online trust and security. the United States, Germany, and Spain. This does not mean that these countries had the highest proportion ofThe Internet as a Fundamental Right for All users who disagreed. Instead, they had the highest pro-Respondents were asked, similarly to the BBC Internet portion of users who did not have a definite opinion onpoll (2010), if the Internet should be a fundamental the matter, as almost 30 percent of respondents in theseright for all people. The majority of users, regardless of countries neither agreed nor disagreed that the Internettheir country, believed that it should be (see Figure 1). had a positive impact. Again, there are signs of enthusi-On average, 72 percent of all respondents agreed that asm and greater support from “newer” Internet coun-access to the Internet should be a fundamental right for tries and more indifferent or ambiguous sentimentsall. (Overall averages were calculated by averaging emerging from “older” Internet countries. Nonetheless,together the results from within all the countries.) we can confirm that the majority of users generally sup-Results were almost identical to the BBC findings. port new technology and the Internet.However, this study allowed users to neither agree nordisagree with the item, which allowed us to identify that General Sentiments about the Core Internet Values20 percent of overall users did not have a defined opin- The majority of users supported freedom of expressionion on the matter. 9 and privacy online (see Figure 2 and Figure 3). Countries where proportions were above average Curiously enough, levels of support were virtually theincluded Mexico (82 percent), South Africa (81 per- same for these values. Fifty-five percent of all users sup-cent), and India (77 percent). This may or may not be ported both, while almost 30 percent consistently indi-very surprising, as these nations have some of the lowest cated that they neither agreed nor disagreed with allInternet diffusion rates amongst the countries investigat- measurements of freedom of expression and privacy.ed. Users in these countries also have fewer years of This highlights the lack of opinion in a considerableexperience, on average, than their counterparts else- portion of users. It is not simply that these users did notwhere. This highlights the enthusiasm and maybe the know how they felt about these issues, as “don’t know”felt need for the Internet in countries where access is was a response option in the survey. (Those responseslimited and not available to all. were treated as missing data for this study, since numbers Germany, Spain, China, and France had below-aver- were too trivial to take into account.) Age, gender, edu-age proportions of users who thought that the Internet cation, and income had no significant impact or influenceshould be a fundamental right for all. A higher propor- on results. Respondents who had no defining opiniontion of users who neither agreed nor disagreed in these on these matters were often from countries wherecountries partly explains the reason for this. Other vari- Internet diffusion is more established and widespread.ables did not seem to offer any further explanation, as By and large, support for freedom of expression wasInternet penetration rates are not exceptionally high in strongest in India, Mexico, and South Africa, while thosethese countries, nor are user years of experience. who supported it least were from Spain, France, and Still, it is clear that the majority felt that the Germany. This is again a sign that enthusiasm and sup-Internet should be a fundamental right for all people. port for the Internet and technology are emerging fromThis highlights the importance users give to the newer Internet countries, rather than older ones.Internet in today’s world. Users from the United States, Canada, and again South Africa valued online privacy the most. This is notWidespread Support for New Technology and the Internet surprising, as the protection of privacy and personal dataOverall, users also showed support for new technology have traditionally been strong in Canada and the Unitedand the Internet. Respondents were asked: States. Further analysis is presented in the individual • whether technology and the Internet make things interpretations of each value. better for them; In terms of levels of trust, the majority of users in all countries showed high levels of distrust in information
The New Internet World Figure 2: Support for online freedom of expression I Respondents who agree or strongly agree |with statements related to online freedom of expression (55%) I Respondents who neither agree nor disagree with statements related to online freedom of expression (28%) I Respondents who disagree or strongly disagree with statements related to online freedom of expression (14%) I Missing data (3%) Note: n = 5400.10 Figure 3: Support for online privacy I Respondents who agree or strongly agree with statements related to online freedom of expression (58%) I Respondents who neither agree nor disagree with statements related to online freedom of expression (28%) I Respondents who disagree or strongly disagree with statements related to online freedom of expression (13%) I Missing data (4%) Note: n = 5400.
The New Internet WorldFigure 4: Concern about the trustworthiness of people and information online I Respondents who are not at all concerned about "being misled by inaccurate information on the Internet" and "people on the Internet lying about who they really are" (10%) I Respondents who are somewhat concerned about "being misled by inaccurate information on the Internet" and "people on the Internet lying about who they really are" (27%) I Respondents who are very or extremely concerned about "being misled by inaccurate information on the Internet" and "people on the Internet lying about who they really are" (58%) I Missing data (5%)Note: n = 5400. 11Figure 5: Concern for online security I Respondents who are not at all concerned about issues related to online security (12%) I Respondents who are somewhat concerned about issues related to online security (23%) I Respondents who are very or extremely concerned about issues related to online security (61%) I Missing data (4%)Note: n = 5400.
The New Internet World Figure 6: Percentage of respondents who support online freedom of expression 80 70 60 50 Percentage 40 30 20 10 0 IND MEX ZAF UK US AUS/NZ BRA CHN ITA CAN ESP FRA GER Notes: See page 1 for country abbreviations and sample sizes. Blue bars indicate percentage of respondents who agree or strongly agree with the following statements related to online freedom of expression: (1) It is ok for people to express their ideas on the Internet, even if they are extreme; (2) People should be able to express their opinion anonymously on the Internet; (3) I feel that I can express myself freely online; and (4) people should be free to criticize their government on the Internet.12 and people online. On average, 58 percent of all respon- currently developing strategies to preserve core Internet dents seemed very or extremely concerned about infor- values. Consequently, users from member countries may mation and people on the Internet misleading them. If not feel that these values are threatened, while users we include respondents who were somewhat con- from emerging economies, where Internet regulation is cerned, this number swells to 85 percent. less developed, might feel that these values are at greater Respondents were just as concerned about matters risk and therefore have more formed opinions about pertaining to online security. On average, 61 percent of them. National Internet diffusion could also explain the users were either very or extremely concerned about variance of support or concern for the four core online security. This number rises to 84 percent when Internet values, a possibility we examine in the analysis we include respondents who were somewhat concerned of individual values. about these issues. Users from South Africa, India, and Mexico again felt the most concerned about online Freedom of Expression Online: Internet Diffusion Erodes trust and security, while users from Europe and North Support America felt the least concerned. In order to measure freedom of expression as a core In sum, users worldwide generally believed the Internet value, we asked respondents how much they Internet should be accessible to all and that new tech- agreed or disagreed with the following four statements: nology and the Internet are positive things in their lives • “It is ok for people to express their ideas on the and in society. There was general consensus amongst all Internet, even if they are extreme.” users in support of online freedom of expression and privacy, and a high level of online distrust and concern • “People should be able to express their opinion for security. Age, gender, income, and education had a anonymously on the Internet. statistically significant but weak impact on levels of sup- • “I feel that I can express myself freely online.” port and concern. However, countries with low penetration rates • “People should be free to criticize their govern- often manifested stronger sentiments about these issues. ment on the Internet.” Internet users from the European Union generally had the least strong sentiments. This might be explained by Items for freedom of expression all loaded onto a national context and regulation. The European Union is single factor when using principal axis factoring. This
The New Internet WorldFigure 7: Support for online freedom of expression according to Internet diffusion 100 80 Percentage 60 40 20 0 IND ZAF MEX CHN BRA ITA ESP FRA US CAN GER UK AUS/NZ Countries in order of Internet diffusionNotes: See page 1 for country abbreviations and sample sizes.Blue bars indicate percentage of population online (2010); black line indicates percentage of respondents who agree or strongly agree with the following statements related to online freedom of expression: (1) It is ok for people to express their ideas on the Internet, even if they are extreme; (2) People should be able to express their opinion anonymously on the Internet; (3) I feel that I can express myself freely online; and (4) People should be free to criticize their government on the Internet. Internet diffusion rates are according to the World Internet Statistics, last updated on June 30, 2010 (http://www.internetworldstats.com/). 13confirmed that there was only one dimension of free- India and Mexico had the highest proportion ofdom of expression. Correlation between items was respondents who supported freedom of expression (67fairly strong and statistically significant, while the percent). On average, fewer than 50 percent of users inKaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure was .795. We con- Spain, France, and Germany supported freedom ofcluded that factor loading was appropriate and that the expression online. These countries also had the lowestsampling tests were adequate. proportion of users who felt that they could express Overall, users generally agreed or strongly agreed their opinion freely online or that the Internet was awith statements that supported freedom of expression. safe place to do so.Users varied little cross-nationally, and instead shared These results are attributable to the fact that userssimilar patterns of variance within their nations. The in these countries often neither agreed nor disagreedmajority of users across countries felt that people should with related measurements. This also explains why fig-be able to freely criticize their government online and ures in many other countries where support for freedomexpress their opinion anonymously on the Internet. of expression online is expected to be high, such as in Contrary to previous findings from the BBC the United States, are in fact lower.Internet poll, our results show that users were not only In general, support for freedom of expression onlinedivided but also ambiguous about the Internet being a diminished as penetration rates increased (see Figure 7).safe place to express their opinion. While, on average, As previously mentioned, a notable number of users inalmost half of all respondents agreed that it was safe, countries with high Internet diffusion did not havemore than 30 percent neither agreed nor disagreed with strong opinions about freedom of expression online.this item. There was a weak but statistically significant negative We calculated the combined averages of respon- correlation between support for freedom of expressiondents who agreed and strongly agreed with each of the online and approximate years of use. This explainsmentioned items related to freedom of expression, to see somewhat why support diminishes in countries wherewhich country had the highest proportion of users who the Internet has been established longer. Emergingsupported freedom of expression online (see Figure 6). economies had a higher proportion of users with lessOn average, 55 percent of all users supported freedom Internet experience. Still, the percentage of less experi-of expression online, while 28 percent neither agreed enced users in these countries did not exceed the per-nor disagreed and only 14 percent disagreed. centage of more experienced users. The only exception
The New Internet World Figure 8: Percentage of respondents who support online privacy 80 70 60 50 Percentage 40 30 20 10 0 ZAF US CAN AUS/NZ BRA IND MEX CHN UK FRA ITA GER ESP Notes: See page 1 for country abbreviations and sample sizes. Blue bars indicate percentage of respondents who agree or strongly agree with the following state- ments related to online privacy: (1) People who go on the Internet put their privacy at risk; (2) Personal information about myself that was gathered over the Internet is stored somewhere for purposes I do not know; (3) Organizations and agencies ask me to give too much personal information over the Internet; and (4) I do not like to provide personal information on the Internet.14 was in India, which had the highest proportion of least • “Personal information about myself that was gath- experienced users. Therefore, individual users’ levels of ered over the Internet is stored somewhere for pur- experience do not fully explain the greater enthusiasm poses I do not know.” demonstrated in the Internet-developing nations. • “Organizations and agencies ask me to give too Another plausible explanation for low support in much personal information over the Internet.” some countries where the Internet is more established is that Internet regulation is more developed and users • “I do not like to provide personal information on may be culturally more sensitive to issues related to free- the Internet.” dom of expression, such as hate speech online. France and Germany, for example, have strong regulation that When using principal axis factoring, all items for prevents anti-Semitic content on the Internet. privacy loaded onto a single factor, confirming that Although findings indicate that emerging econo- there was only one dimension of privacy. Correlation mies manifest greater support for freedom of expression, between items was not particularly high or low, but was it is too early to say that users in these countries gener- statistically significant according to the Bartlett’s test of ally care more about this issue, or to predict whether sphericity. KMO measured at .735, above the satisfactory sentiments will change over time as the countries reach measure of .5. higher Internet penetration rates. Further research, such In general, the majority of respondents valued their as a longitudinal study, is needed to fully understand the online privacy (see Figure 3). On average, 58 percent erosion in support for freedom of expression that of all users agreed or strongly agreed with the above appears to be caused by Internet diffusion. statements, while 13 percent disagreed and 28 percent neither agreed nor disagreed. Support for online privacy Support for Online Privacy Is Not Dead may indeed be conditional and multicultural to a certain We asked respondents how much they agreed or dis- extent, as Cho et al. (2009) have previously suggested. agreed with the following statements, in order to under- Yet, in general, results indicated that levels of apprehen- stand how they valued their privacy on the Internet: siveness were similar in all countries, confirming the findings of Bellman et al. (2004). • “People who go on the Internet put their privacy We calculated the combined averages of respon- at risk.” dents who agreed and strongly agreed with each of the
The New Internet WorldFigure 9: Support for online privacy according to Internet diffusion 100 80 Percentage 60 40 20 0 IND ZAF MEX CHN BRA ITA ESP FRA US CAN GER UK AUS/NZ Countries in order of Internet diffusionNotes: See page 1 for country abbreviations and sample sizes. Blue bars indicate percentage of population online (2010); black line with white markers indicate percentage of respondents who agree or strongly agree with statements related to online privacy according to Figure 8: (1) People who go on the Internet put their privacy at risk; (2) Personal information about myself that was gathered over the Internet is stored somewhere for purposes I do not know; (3) Organizations and agencies ask me to give too much personal information over the Internet; and (4) I do not like to provide personal information on the Internet. Internet diffu- sion rates are according to the World Internet Statistics, last updated on June 30, 2010 (http://www.internetworldstats.com/). 15mentioned items in order to see which countries had had higher proportions of support than countries withthe highest proportion of users who valued privacy on low diffusion, such as India, Mexico, and China. Althoughthe Internet (see Figure 8). Users from South Africa val- we cannot say that Internet diffusion diminishes supportued their online privacy the most (65 percent), followed for online privacy, neither can we say that it increasesby users in the United States (63 percent), Canada (60 support (see Figure 9).percent), and Australia/New Zealand (59 percent). Even though some countries had a low proportion Results from the United States, Canada, and of users who seemed to value online privacy, this doesAustralia/New Zealand are not surprising, as privacy not mean that users in these countries did not wantpolicies, principles, and advocacy groups are prevalent their privacy protected online or that they did not mindin these countries. Such measures include the US sharing personal information online. It is essential toFederal Trade Commission standards for privacy on the remember that, on average, almost 13 percent of respon-Internet, the Canadian Standard Association Model Code dents did not agree or disagree with these statements.for the Protection of Personal Information and the Australian Only 28 percent of respondents actually disagreed withNational Privacy Principles, in addition to well-established statements related to online privacy.privacy acts and privacy commissioners’ offices. Growing Reasons for this are not clear, but may be related touse and popularity of online social networks, propelled the types of privacy legislation and regulation found inby sites such as Facebook, have also made online privacy some countries. Online privacy regulation is relativelythe centre of debate in these countries. There was a sta- strict in Europe (with the EU Directive on Datatistically significant correlation between years of use and Protection), while, in the United States and other coun-support for privacy. However, this correlation was weak. tries, privacy is self-enforced.35 It is possible that users inCorrelation with age, income, and education was also self-regulated environments felt that their privacy isextremely weak though significant. more at risk, as online companies and organisations can Therefore, there are no clear indications to why collect data much more easily from them.South Africa had such a high proportion of users who In sum, we can conclude that most Internet users,felt strongly about online privacy. We cannot attribute it regardless of their country of origin, value privacy andto Internet diffusion eroding strong support, as it does the protection of personal information online. Yet, therefor freedom of expression online, since countries such as was still about one-third of respondents who had nothe United States, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand defining opinion about the issue. More research is needed
The New Internet World to better understand what might be some of the factors alarming, as previous research has indicated that famil- causing this. iarity36 and proximity to technology37 help increase trust. Yet, maybe as Dutton and Sheppard (2006) have Online Trust: Concern over Misleading Information and suggested, the more one uses the Internet and technolo- People gy, the more one perceives and understands the possible In order to measure users’ levels of trust in people and risks. Further research is needed to better understand information online, we asked respondents how con- fluctuation amongst countries with higher penetration cerned they were about: rates. • being misled by inaccurate information on the Online Security: A Major Concern for All Internet; and In order to understand how users valued online security • people on the Internet lying about who they really in terms of technical security, personal data protection, are. and fraud, we asked respondents how concerned they felt about the following incidents: Principal axis factoring was used to assure that these • their computer being infected by a virus; two items loaded onto a single factor, which they did. Correlation between these two items was relatively high • someone stealing their credit card details; and and statistically significant. The KMO measure was .5, • someone getting inappropriate access to their e- which is satisfactory. mail. More than 75 percent of users in all countries felt at least somewhat concerned, if not more, about being Items for security all loaded onto a single factor misled by inaccurate information on the Internet, and when using principal axis factoring. This confirmed that 70 percent or more felt somewhat concerned about there was only one dimension of security. Correlation people lying about who they were online. Levels of between items was high and statistically significant. The income did have a statistically significant impact on KMO measure was above the satisfactory measure of .5, trust, as Dutton and Sheppard (2006) suggested. indicating .718.16 However, the correlation was very weak. Other inde- We calculated the combined averages of respon- pendent variables, such as age, gender, and education, dents who identified as very or extremely concerned for were trivial and not significant. the three mentioned items related to online security (see We calculated the average percentage of users who Figure 5). On average, 61 percent of users in all coun- were very or extremely concerned about being misled tries were either very or extremely concerned about by information or people online, to see which users issues pertaining to online security. This number rose to were most distrustful (see Figure 10). On average, users 84 percent if we included those who said they were in South Africa seemed the most concerned about being somewhat concerned about online security issues. deceived by information and people on the Internet (68 In general, users seemed highly concerned about percent), followed closely by users in India (67 percent) their online security, with the exception of users in and Mexico (61 percent). Users in France seemed the Germany and France (see Figure 12). Users who were least concerned (37 percent). most concerned about this were from South Africa (81 When combining responses to both statements, we percent), India (79 percent), and Mexico (69 percent). found that 58 percent of all respondents were either This can maybe be explained by the fact that respon- very or extremely concerned about being misled by dents from these countries had fewer years of experi- information or people online. However, if we also added ence using the Internet than the average respondent in respondents who indicated that they were somewhat this study. Findings indicated that items of online securi- concerned about these two issues, on average 85 percent ty and experience did correlate negatively, albeit in a of all respondents were concerned (see Figure 4). weak but statistically significant way. Concern over trustworthy information and people Generally, Internet diffusion does somewhat erode online was highest in the three countries with the low- concerns for online security (see Figure 13). The weak est penetration rates (India, South Africa, and Mexico, as correlation between concern and years of experience seen in Figure 11). The proportion of users who were may also explain fluctuation of concern amongst nations concerned about misleading information or people with wider Internet diffusion. online fluctuated as Internet diffusion increased. However, generally, Internet diffusion somewhat erodes concern over the trustworthiness of information and people online. We can conclude that, by and large, the majority of users are at least somewhat distrustful of people and information misleading them online. This is somewhat
The New Internet WorldFigure 10: Percentage of respondents who are concerned about the trustworthiness of people and informationonline 80 70 60 50 Percentage 40 30 20 10 0 ZAF IND MEX US BRA ESP AUS/NZ ITA CHN UK CAN GER FRANotes: See page 1 for country abbreviations and sample sizes. Blue bars indicate percentage of respondents who are very or extremely concerned about "being misled by inaccurate information on the Internet" or by "people on the Internet lying about who they really are". 17Figure 11: Concern about the trustworthiness of people and information online according to Internet diffusion 100 80 60 Percentage 40 20 0 IND ZAF MEX CHN BRA ITA ESP FRA US CAN GER UK AUS/NZ Countries in order of Internet diffusionNotes: See page 1 for country abbreviations and sample sizes. Blue bars indicate percentage of population online (2010); black line with white markers indicates percentage of respondents who are very or extremely concerned about "being misled by inaccurate information on the Internet" or by "people on the Internet lying about who they really are". Internet diffusion rates are according to the World Internet Statistics, last updated on June 30, 2010 (http://www.internetworld- stats.com/).
The New Internet World Figure 12: Percentage of respondents who are concerned about online security 100 80 60 Percentage 40 20 0 ZAF IND MEX AUS/NZ US CHN BRA UK CAN ESP ITA GER FRA Notes: See page 1 for country abbreviation keys. Sample sizes are indicated in parentheses. Blue bars indicate percentage of respondents who are very or extremely concerned about the following issues related to online security: (1) their computer being infected by a virus; (2) someone stealing their credit card details; and (3) someone getting inappropriate access to their e-mail.18 Figure 13: Concern for online security according to Internet diffusion 100 80 60 Percentage 40 20 0 IND ZAF MEX CHN BRA ITA ESP FRA US CAN GER UK AUS/NZ Countries in order of Internet diffusion Notes: See page 1 for country abbreviations and sample sizes. Blue bars indicate percentage of population online (2010); black lines with white markers indicate percentage of respondents who are very or extremely concerned online security according to Figure 12. Internet diffusion rates are according to the World Internet Statistics, last updated on June 30, 2010 (http://www.internetworldstats.com/).
The New Internet WorldOnline Behaviours and Values • Levels of support for freedom of expression andTo confirm the dimensions of support for and concern government regulation were almost identical inwith the four core Internet values, we asked respondents India.about certain online habits and implications and exam- • Users generally valued online privacy both in theo-ined how behaviour and attitudes matched. These ry and in practice. Respondents in countries withincluded: low penetration rates shared personal information • content production and opinions about government for other online trade-offs much more frequently regulation of the Internet to better understand the than others. extent of support for freedom of expression online; • Levels of supposed distrust in online information • sharing of personal information for other online and people are not reflected by high levels of trade-offs to measure the degree of privacy users Internet use for communication and information actually upheld; purposes. However, low levels of online social play- fulness do correspond with concerns over these • use of the Internet for communication, informa- matters. tion, and socializing purposes in order to better comprehend degrees of trust; and Freedom of Expression in Theory and in Practice • scanning of computers for viruses and spyware to We asked respondents about their content production make sense of the security consciousness of users. habits and opinion of government regulation of the Internet to better understand how they upheld the value Principal axis factoring was performed for all of the of freedom of expression online in practice. Digitalmeasurements in order to assure that no hidden dimen- media have allowed users to participate in the growthsions were overlooked. Items consistently loaded onto a and spread of online culture.38 Thanks to the architec-single factor for each of the category measurements. All ture of the web, the production of online content hasresults were statistically significantly and passed the integrated a horizontal process rather than a verticalKMO and Bartlett’s test of sphericity, confirming sample process found in traditional media.39adequacy and the appropriateness of the factor model 19for these data. Content Production Contrary to much hype in the media about social Questions related to online content production askedmedia, content production, online shopping, and other how often users:innovative uses of the Internet, our findings indicated • update or create a profile on a social networkingthat user behaviour was limited to a few basic daily and site;weekly activities. This means that users appeared touphold core Internet values much more in theory than • post pictures or photos on the Internet;in practice. New nations in the online world also mani- • post messages on discussion forums or messagefested more liberal behaviours, outpacing older nations boards;in innovative patterns of use. Users in China, Brazil,India, South Africa, and Mexico were substantially more • use a distribution list for e-mail;active than other users in Web 2.0 technology and other • write a blog;popular online habits and uses. This reflected findingsabout strong enthusiasm and support for new technolo- • maintain a personal website;gy and the Internet from emerging economies. • post a podcast; and When comparing attitudes with reported onlinebehaviour, we found the following: • post a video blog. • Respondents generally supported freedom of In general, only 21 percent of respondents pro- expression much more in theory, producing little duced some type of online content daily or weekly, 31 online content daily or weekly. On average, 42 per- percent produced content on a monthly basis or less, cent of all respondents said they support govern- and 45 percent said they had never produced any. These ment regulation of the Internet. That is less than 10 low numbers are not very surprising, as previous studies percentage points below the average number of have shown that user-generated content online is pro- users who said they generally supported freedom of duced by a relatively small group. For example, expression online. Wikipedia reported that 2.5 percent of its users con- • Chinese users produced more online content than tributed to 80 percent of its total content.40 The free- users in any other country. rider phenomenon is also a problem that often plagues user-generated communities.41
The New Internet World Figure 14: Percentage of respondents who produce online content daily or weekly 50 40 30 Percentage 20 10 0 CHN BRA IND ITA MEX ESP FRA ZAF GER US CAN UK AUS/NZ Notes: See page 1 for country abbreviations and sample sizes. Percentage of respondents who produce one or more of the following online content daily or weekly: (1) update or create a profile on a social networking site; (2) post pictures or photos on the Internet; (3) post messages on discussion forums or message boards; (4) use a distribution list for e-mail; (5) write a blog; (6) maintain a personal website; (7) post a podcast; and/or (8) post a video blog.20 The most regularly executed activity was updating a time where user-generated content is much easier to or creating a profile online (on average 29 percent of produce. Those in advanced economies have larger respondents did this daily or weekly) and using a distri- mainstream media content online and are wedded to bution list for e-mail (on average 28 percent of respon- Web 1.0, diminishing the need and interest in producing dents did this daily or weekly). user-generated content. We calculated the combined averages of respon- dents who answered daily or weekly for any of the items Support for Online Regulation related to online content production (see Figure 14). Respondents were also asked about various items related Those who produced most frequently were users in to government regulation of the Internet. McClosky et China (45 percent), followed by users in Brazil (35 per- al. (1983) found that citizens had conflicting values that cent) and in India (32 percent). In fact, users in these impeded on civil rights, such as freedom, when they felt three countries consistently produced online content the insecure or fearful about specific issues. We therefore most often, no matter the type of content. Countries asked respondents how much they agreed with the fol- with the lowest proportion of users who produced lowing points: online content were Australia/New Zealand (7 percent), • “Government should monitor content on the the United Kingdom (8 percent), and the United States Internet.” and Canada (12 percent). Online content production was higher in countries • “It is okay for the government to block or censor with low Internet penetration rates, with the exception Internet content.” of South Africa. Notwithstanding the fact that already a • “Governments should censor Internet content in minority of users regularly produces online content on order to protect children.” the web, Internet diffusion seems to further erode con- tribution online (see Figure 15). We calculated the combined average of users who Online content production may indeed be higher agreed or strongly agreed with the mentioned items in countries with low Internet diffusion because there related to government regulation online (see Figure 16). may be less relevant content in the local language, creat- On average, 42 percent of respondents supported general ing more demand. Moreover, users in emerging government regulation of the Internet, while 26 percent economies are coming online in the period of Web 2.0, disagreed, and 28 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.
The New Internet WorldFigure 15: Percentage of respondents who produce online content daily or weekly according to Internet diffusion 100 80 Percentage 60 40 20 0 IND ZAF MEX CHN BRA ITA ESP FRA US CAN GER UK AUS/NZ Countries in order of Internet diffusionNotes: Blue bars indicate percentage of population online (2010); black bars with white markers indicate percentage of respondents who produce online content daily or weekly according to Figure 14. Internet diffusion rates are according to the World Internet Statistics, last updated on June 30, 2010 (http://www.internetworldstats.com/). 21Figure 16: Percentage of respondents who support government regulation of the Internet 80 70 60 50 Percentage 40 30 20 10 0 IND CHN UK AUS/NZ CAN ITA ZAF MEX GER FRA BRA US ESPNotes: See page 1 for country abbreviations and sample sizes. Blue bars indicate percentage of respondents who agree or strongly agree with the following state- ments related to government regulation: (1) Government should monitor content on the Internet; (2) It is okay for the government to block or censor Internet con- tent; and (3) Governments should censor Internet content in order to protect children.