The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) released a research report last week displaying Canadians’ opinions and experiences regarding the internet and fake news, privacy, cybersecurity and access. Based on a survey of over 1,200 Canadian internet users in December 2018, the report highlights areas of concern, including apprehension around the upcoming Canadian federal election. The report also indicates what Canadians want from industry, the Canadian government and citizens themselves to create a better internet in Canada.
CIRA’s report offers several recommendations to improve Canada’s internet, including enhanced investments by the Canadian government, actions around cybersecurity and privacy that Canadian businesses can take right away and opportunities for Canadian citizens to improve the internet they rely on every day.
“With the rise of misinformation online and threats to digital privacy and cybersecurity, Canadians are demanding more of government, industry and others when it comes to Canada’s internet,” says CIRA’s CEO Byron Holland. “The question that remains is how best to give Canadians what they want, while maintaining the open, interoperable internet that has become ubiquitous in the lives of most Canadians.”
The report comes out in the lead up to the upcoming
Canadian Internet Governance Forum, taking place this week in Toronto, where internet stakeholders from across the country will meet to discuss these key issues. CIRA is a sponsor, co-organiser and participant.
“There are some basic actions that can be taken today to increase Canadian privacy and security online,” says Jacques Latour, CIRA’s chief security officer. “Canadian businesses must learn and follow privacy laws and make cybersecurity a priority. Governments must invest and participate in local infrastructure such as Canadian internet exchange points to keep data local, and Canadians must learn to spot and avoid personal cyber threats such as phishing emails.”
“With a federal election around the corner, fake news is a real concern and Canadians agree,” says David Fowler, CIRA’s vice president of marketing and communications and vice-chair of MediaSmarts board of directors. “Canadians see social media companies, the government and journalists as key players to halt misinformation online. But citizens themselves have a role to play and increased investments in media literacy will help Canadians spot fake news and thereby thwart its influence.”
To read the full report visit cira.ca/betterinternet.
Some of the key facts on Canadian internet users highlighted by CIRA are:
Of Canadian internet users:
Social media and fake news
· 75% say they come across fake news at least sometimes
- 57% have been taken in by a fake news item.
· 70% are concerned that fake news could impact the outcome of the next federal election.
· 72% are willing to disclose some or a little personal information in exchange for a valuable/convenient service.
· 87% are concerned that businesses with access to customers’ personal data willingly share it with third parties without consent.
· 86% believe it is important that government data, including the personal information of Canadians, be stored and transmitted in Canada only.
· 87% are concerned about a potential cyberattack against organizations with access to their personal data.
· Only 19% say they would continue to do business with an organization if their personal data were exposed in a cyberattack.
· 78% are concerned about the potential security threats related to the Internet of Things.
· 69% believe the high cost of internet services, including for mobile data, is hurting Canada’s economy and prosperity.
· 83% believe that universal access to high-speed internet is important for Canada’s overall economic growth and prosperity.
· 70% agree that the Canadian government should be doing more to support public access to high-speed internet.
· 75% say they only know a little or hardly anything about the topic of global control and regulation of the internet.
· 50% are concerned that the global internet could fracture into regional blocks that adopt very different regulatory principles and policies.
- 66% support the principles of net neutrality.