This research investigates Australian residential consumers’ experiences with e-security and identifies areas of concern and their implications on telecommunications policy and regulation.
Findings and recommendations have been formed through a literature review and an online survey of 254 Australian consumers. In age, gender and location, the collection of consumers we surveyed reasonably represents a wider group of Australian consumers. However, the majority of consumers we surveyed were frequently online, and active once online, and results may therefore not adequately represent consumers who are rarely online.
In summary, though a minority of Australian consumers may be suffering financially as a result of e-security problems, many more may be suffering productivity-wise, and stopping or changing the way they use the Internet because of e-security concerns. Furthermore, though awareness of e-security threats may be reasonably high, consumer understanding of these threats and how to protect themselves against them may be lacking. Consumers we surveyed looked to Internet Service Providers, Government and fellow consumers to take more responsibility for e-security. With the potential for many consumers to be “surfing on thin ice”, our recommendations include development of consumer protections, development of consumer education, and further research around e-security issues.