Two-thirds of consumers suspect governments abuse their powers to access data

According to a new study 51 percent of people don’t believe their government can protect their personal data, and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) suspect their government already abuses its powers to access the data of citizens.

Identity protection company Venafi surveyed 3,000 consumers in the US, UK and Germany about initiatives that would grant governments more access to private, encrypted data.

68 percent of respondents say they believe governments shouldn't force private companies to hand over encrypted personal data without consumer consent. But despite these concerns 41 percent believe laws that provide government access to encrypted personal data would make them safer from terrorists.

In addition only 38 percent of respondents understand that cyber criminals will benefit from greater government access to encrypted personal data. Just over one-third of respondents (37 percent) are confident in their government's ability to fight cyber crime.

"The results of this research indicate that security and privacy are probably going to get a lot worse before they get better," says Jeff Hudson, CEO of Venafi. "It's very clear that consumers are confused about what access to encrypted data will mean to their privacy, and it's equally clear that governments don't understand how encryption backdoors will be used to undermine our global digital economy. The negative impact encryption backdoors will have on every aspect of security and privacy is tremendous."

Encryption is key to protecting a wide range of critical infrastructure, including global financial systems, electrical grids and transportation systems from cyber criminals who seek to steal data for financial gain or espionage. Encryption backdoors create vulnerabilities which, although they may be introduced with good intentions, can be exploited by a wide range of malicious actors, including hostile or abusive government agencies.

"Giving governments access to encryption will not make us safer from terrorism -- in fact, the opposite is true," adds Hudson. "Most people don't trust the government to protect data and they don't believe the government is effective at fighting cybercrime. It's ironic that we believe we would be safer if governments were given more power to access private encrypted data because this will undermine the security of our entire digital economy."

You can read more about the results on the Venafi blog.

Photo credit: Imilian / Shutterstock