Seven in Ten (71%) Global Citizens say the “Dark Net” should be Shut Down; Three in Ten (29%) Disagree

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Toronto, ON – Seven in ten (71%) global citizens say the “dark net” should be shut down, according to a new Ipsos poll commissioned by the Centre for International Governance Innovation(CIGI). The poll, titled the 2016 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, dove into the contentious area of the “dark net” – an area of the internet only accessible via special web browsers that allow you to surf the web anonymously. This realm is used by hackers and illegal marketplace sellers and buyers (eg. Child Abuse Imagery, Weapons, Narcotics) to hide from law enforcement. At the same time, journalists, human rights activists, dissidents and whistleblowers can use these services to rally against repression, exercise their fundamental rights to free expression and shed light upon corruption.

Amidst the ongoing turmoil and chaos taking place in this space, the results of the 24-country poll show that 71% agree (36% strongly/35% somewhat) that the “dark net should be shut down”, while three in ten (29%) disagree (10% strongly/19% somewhat), believing it should continue to exist.

The question then arises: Why do so many global citizens believe the “dark net” should continue to exist, if it is the seedy underbelly of the internet? The answer may lie in the value global citizens place in retaining anonymity and privacy in the face of concerns over surveillance, censorship, and government control.

In very simple terms the “dark net” offers global citizens a way to circumvent censorship or monitoring. Nowhere was this clearer than in the finding that fewer than half (46%) trust (13% completely/34% somewhat) that their activities on the internet are not censored, and even fewer (38%) trust (10% completely/28% somewhat) that their activities on the internet are not monitored.

Lastly, the survey findings demonstrate that citizens in some countries are much more likely than others to believe the “dark net” should be shut down: those in Indonesia (85%) and India (82%) are most inclined to believe it should no longer exist, followed by residents of Mexico (80%), China (79%), Egypt (79%), South Africa (77%), Pakistan (76%), France (76%), Great Britain (76%), Brazil (73%), Canada (73%), Australia (72%), the United States (72%), Turkey (71%), Tunisia (69%), Italy (68%), Germany (67%), and Poland (65%). Among the least likely to believe the dark net should be shut down are Japan (63%), Nigeria (62%), Hong Kong (62%), Kenya (61%), South Korea (61%) and Sweden (61%).

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.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Fen Hampson
Director, Global Security & Politics Program
519.885.2444 ext. 7201

Darrell Bricker
Global CEO
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos

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Seven in Ten (71%) Global Citizens say the “Dark Net” should be Shut Down; Three in Ten (29%) Disagree


Darrell Bricker
CEO, Global
Ipsos Public Affairs