Online trust and privacy: People’s attitudes and behaviour

14 December 2010

This report provides further analysis of Ofcom's Media Literacy Tracker data, in order to understand more about internet users' attitudes and behaviour in relation to online trust and privacy. The analysis was initially presented at a joint Ofcom/Oxford Internet Institute seminar held in October 2010.

It takes as its starting point a series of key benchmark measures in these areas from the Media Literacy Tracker (these findings can be found in more detail in the Adults' Media Literacy report 2010). It then examines the relationships between these responses, in other words whether people's attitudes and their actions are linked. For example, do people that have concerns in the areas of online privacy and security do less online, shop less, etc, than the online population as a whole? Or is it confidence online that is the key differentiator in the way different people use the internet?

The analysis indicates that confidence online is more likely than concerns over privacy and security to be associated with a range of attitudes and behaviour. The less confidence an online user says they have, the less likely they are to carry out a range of activities and transactions online, the less likely they are to make checks on websites, to use such websites for transactions, etc. If an online user has concerns about security/fraud issues, or personal privacy, they display few differences in other attitudes or behaviour from the UK online population as a whole.

In other words, according to our analysis, lower levels of confidence are a greater factor in the extent of people's online activity than concerns about privacy or security.

Full report

Online Trust and Privacy (PDF, 209.1 KB)