Individuals are growing increasingly concerned about how their personal data is being handled by both governments and private companies, a new global survey finds. And 83 percent of the nearly 24,000 people surveyed across 24 countries want new rules to govern the use of data.

The Centre for International Governance Innovation and research firm Ipsos was released Monday as the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development E-Commerce Week got underway in Geneva

“The centrality of trust in informing the attitudes of global citizens about Internet security is perhaps one of the most crucial findings of the global survey. Internet users are expressing a clear lack of trust in the current set of rules and, more importantly, in the actors that oversee the sharing and use of personal data online,” said Fen Hampson, director of CIGI’s Global Security & Politics Program and co-director of the Global Commission on Internet Governance.

“There is an overwhelming consensus among respondents that the Internet is everyone’s issue, and that no single actor or institution is absolved of responsibility or can be trusted more than others in the pursuit of its effective governance.”

An even higher percentage, 85 percent, of consumers say their governments as well as other businesses and organizations should cooperate in the setting of the new standards.

Many users are even adjusting their online behavior due to security concerns.

“[M]ost (83%) global citizens appear to have changed their online behavior in an effort to control the amount of personal information that is being shared online,” the survey found.

“The behavior information ranges from minor changes such as avoiding opening emails from unknown email addresses (55%) to more substantial changes such as doing fewer financial transactions (23%), or even using the Internet less often (11%).”

Key findings include:

  • 57% are more concerned about their online privacy compared to one year ago a
  • A minority of global citizens (38%) trusting that their activities on the Internet were not monitored
  • 46% trusting that their activity online were not being censored
  • Only 30% respondents agreed that their own government is currently doing enough to keep personal information secure and safe from private companies
  • 31% agreed that private companies are doing enough to keep personal information secure and safe from governments.

“The results of the global survey demonstrate that the rules, actors and models of governance around how personal data is used online must change,” said Ipsos Global Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker.

“The survey data tells us that global citizens are increasingly uneasy and deeply concerned about the fact that no clear rules currently exist to hold actors such as national governments or private companies to account in the use and sharing of personal data online. As global citizens become more hesitant about their conduct online, there is a clear desire to see these actors cooperate in finding new, bold and innovative ways to govern the Internet.”