Report: User Trust in Digital Security Is Declining

Loss of trust could lead to users withdrawing and withholding their information -- and starving the data hungry engine that is the Internet.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, but data security is one of the most discussed topics on the internet. And with each high profile breach the discussion about robust systems and user trust comes up again. New data from Intercede indicates that trust in security systems is on the decline, especially among millennials.

As with a previous report by Intercede, the data from more than 2,000 millennials aged 16 to 25 was collected by Atomik Research. And overall the study finds that trust is going down, and various institutions are receiving worse scores than ever before.

Overall, less than five percent of survey respondents believe that their digital identity and data is “completely protected by effective safeguards.” Sixty-eight percent believe that as you become more digitally connected, risks to your privacy will increase.

Millennials still believe that data security is important, and they have strong opinions when it comes to which institutions they trust the most and the least. Very few users said they had “complete” trust in anyone they gave their data to; only 13 percent trusted employers, and five percent trusted ISPs.

Social media platforms received some of the lowest levels of trust of any vertical. Sixty-one percent say their level of trust is “a little” or “none” when it comes to social sites. Thirty-eight percent don’t trust retailers very much, and 22 percent don’t trust local and federal governments with their information.

This lack of trust could have large knock on effects for business and governments, in the eyes of millennials. Fifty-four percent believe that weak security could cause consumers to lose faith in goods and services, and about 43 percent believe there could be a decline in sharing personal data if security protocols remain unchanged.

Communications technology expert Lubna Dajani noted:

Millennials are hungry for change. The generation that has grown up in a digital-first world and witnessed the rapid advancement of connected devices and information access is now facing a fallout. … It’s no wonder they are beginning to rebel against continued personal data access — something needs to be done. This is by no means an apathetic generation; if business and government leaders don’t adopt better protocols now, Millennials will soon rise up and demand it.

Millennials, and other dedicated internet users, have demonstrated their willingness to protest in an attempt to force institutions into adopting better security, while preserving the ability to share content freely.

However, the most dangerous thing for governments and businesses may not be protests, but users withdrawing their information, or not sharing in the first place, which could easily starve the engine of the Internet.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.