Toronto, ON – At a time when the balance between protecting national security and the privacy rights of individuals online dominates headlines around the world, a new poll undertaken by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and conducted by Ipsos across 24 countries has found that most global citizens favour enabling law enforcement to access private online conversations if they have valid national security reasons to do so, or if they are investigating an individual suspected of committing a crime. The survey also found that a majority of respondents do not want companies to develop technologies that would undermine law enforcement’s ability to access much needed data.
The study – titled the 2016 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust – comes at a time when tech giant Apple Inc. is defying the F.B.I.’s orders to assist in accessing data stored in an iPhone owned by one of the two suspected attackers who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015.
Seven in ten (70%) global citizens agree (32% strongly/38% somewhat) that law enforcement agencies should have a right to access the content of their citizens’ online communications for valid national security reasons, including 69% of Americans and 65% of Canadians who agree. Residents of Tunisia (84%) Nigeria (82%) and India (82%) are most likely to agree, followed by those in Sweden (80%), Great Britain (80%), Pakistan (77%), Indonesia (76%), Kenya (75%), Australia (75%), Italy (72%), France (71%), United States (69%), China (67%), Mexico (64%), Poland (64%), Egypt (62%), South Africa (61%), Brazil (59%), Japan (57%), Turkey (55%), Hong Kong (55%), Germany (54%) and South Korea (53%). When aggregating the results by region or economic status, residents of the Middle East and Africa (74%) are most likely to agree, followed by those in Europe (70%), BRIC – Brazil, Russia, India and China (69%), the G-8 (67%), North America (67%), Asia Pacific (66%), and Latin America (62%).
Moreover, when someone is suspected of a crime, 85% of global citizens agree (49% strongly/37% somewhat) that governments should be able to find out who their suspects communicated with online, including 80% of Americans who agree. Residents of Nigeria (95%) and Tunisia (93%) are most likely to agree with this position, followed by those living in Indonesia (92%), Kenya (91%), Pakistan (89%), South Africa (89%), France (88%), Great Britain (88%), Italy (87%), Mexico (86%), China (85%), India (85%), Egypt (85%), Brazil (84%), Sweden (83%), Australia (83%), Canada (82%), Germany (82%), United States (80%), Poland (78%), Turkey (78%), Hong Kong (78%), Japan (70%) and South Korea (67%). Residents of the Middle East and Africa are most likely to agree (90%), followed by those living in Latin America (85%), BRIC (85)%, Europe (84%), the G-8 (82%), North America (81%) and Asia Pacific (80%).
More contentious is the idea of whether companies should be allowed to develop technologies that prevent law enforcement from accessing the content of an individual’s online conversations. On this issue, 63% agree (26% strongly/36% somewhat) that companies should not develop this technology, including 60% of Americans, and 57% of Canadians whom are most likely to agree with this statement. Those in China (74%) and India (74%) are most likely to agree, followed by residents of Italy (73%), Indonesia (71%), Great Britain (70%), Mexico (69%), Nigeria (67%), Pakistan (67%), Kenya (66%), Australia (65%), Sweden (63%), Turkey (62%), France (62%), Poland (60%), United States (60%), South Africa (59%), Tunisia (58%), Brazil (58%), Hong Kong (58%), Germany (56%), Egypt (55%), Japan (52%) and South Korea (46%). Interestingly, residents of North America (58%) are least likely to agree, while those living somewhere in the G-8 (61%), Middle East and Africa (63%), Asia Pacific (63%), Latin America (64%), Europe (64%) or BRIC (69%) are more likely to agree.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll for CIGI in field between November 20 and December 4, 2015. The survey was conducted in 24 countries—Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States—and involved 24,143 Internet users. Twenty of the countries utilized the Ipsos Internet panel system while the other four (Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tunisia) were conducted by Ipsos Computer-aided Telephone Interviewing (CATI) facilities in each of those countries. In the US and Canada respondents were aged 18-64, and 16-64 in all other countries. Approximately 1000+ individuals were surveyed in each country and are weighted to match the online population in each country surveyed. The precision of Ipsos online polls is calculated using a credibility interval. In this case, a poll of 1,000 is accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points. For those surveys conducted by CATI, the margin of error accuracy is +/-3.1. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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