Joe public wary of trusting organisations online

Government more trusted than e-tailers

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More needs to be done to convince the British public that their personal details are adequately protected online.

A YouGov survey of 2,000 UK punters found that two in three (65 per cent) were uncomfortable with the idea of allowing organisations to share personal details in order to offer federated services. For consumers, federated services would offer the convenience of carrying out online transactions with different sales and service organisations after logging in only once to a trusted entity, for example their bank.

Nine in 10 (91 per cent) of those quizzed said organisations offering online services ought to do more to protect customers' personal details. Around three in four (72 per cent) indicated that online identity theft had already led to changes in their behaviour.

When asked who they trusted most with their personal details, banks came top with 70 per cent of the vote. Government was more trusted (23 per cent) than retailers (21 per cent) to keep sensitive details safely. ISPs got the confidence vote from only 11 per cent of the survey's respondents.

Trust, according to the survey, was based on a number of factors, but the most frequently cited fact was that organisations displayed security certifications on their site (chosen by 75 per cent of respondents). Perceived reputation was also an important factor in the survey, which was sponsored by systems management firm CA.

Respondents were also asked whether they would be more comfortable for their personal details to be submitted via a specialist third party, an independent "identity service provider", who'd validate an individual's identity to a chosen online organisation. Reaction to this idea among the public was lukewarm (39 per cent). Twenty per cent of respondents said it would make no difference to their comfort levels, and 31 per cent said they would feel more uncomfortable with trusting a third party to handle their credentials.

"Organisations starting large technology projects to launch federated services need to consider how to establish trust," said Simon Perry, VP Security Strategy EMEA, CA. "Banks and credit card companies appear to be in a good position, and that may be because we are used to conducting sensitive transactions with them and because many of them are already tackling concerns about identity theft through advertising. For government, online retailers, and ISPs that means finding ways to demonstrate they can be trusted to manage an individual's personal details before they launch federated services." ®

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