People want digital services – but don’t fully trust them

New whitepaper research finds significant differences across countries, regions and generations when it comes to trusting the public and private sector with their digital safety

Posted 21 June 2022 by Christine Horton

Most people are very enthusiastic about digital services, but also deeply concerned about their safety when using them.

This presents a problem for digital service providers, both in the public and private sector, and especially for governments like the UK’s, which aim to increase efficiency and inclusion through transitioning more services online.

That’s according to a new whitepaper, Circles of Trust: How the UK Public Perceives Digital Risk from IT security firm Utimaco. One of the key findings is that 70 percent of surveyed respondents, representing internet users from across the UK, either worry a lot or a little about their security when using digital services. Only 10 percent don’t worry at all.

This is despite only 15 percent of respondents answering that they had been harmed in some way by identity theft, data loss or fraud. This distrust increases as respondents aged, and there were significant differences between the answers of respondents from different parts of the country.

Similar stories emerged when respondents were asked about digital healthcare and government services. Sixty-three percent of respondents said that given the choice they would use digital services to access healthcare when possible, and 46 percent consider the information that they send to their healthcare provider to be secure, a far higher level of confidence than most people had in digital security in general. This is likely to be explainable by the high level of public trust in the NHS as an institution rather than specific knowledge of its security.

This seems to be the case with responses to questions of trust in other parts of the public sector, which are significantly lower.