Security education needed

More than one in three Canadians expect to buy something over the Internet within the next couple of years, according to a new poll from Ekos Research Associates in Ottawa. Seven per cent of Canadians said they had shopped on the Internet at some point during the three months before the poll was taken. Released last week, the poll also notes continued concerns about privacy and security.

Ekos president Frank Graves said that the one in three number is a “much higher” figure than anything in the past, and called the new numbers a “radical transformation” of the marketplace.

Surprisingly, almost 75 percent of those polled said that they wouldn’t give their credit card number over the Net, even if they were buying from a well-established business. Apparently, a lot of people are unfamiliar with the vast array of security measures now used routinely by online businesses. As many experts point out, your credit card security is more at risk in a restaurant while a waiter walks off with it for a couple of minutes.

Education and new legislation that will make people more comfortable using the Net to shop will solve the problem. The poll also found people would be more willing tshop on the Internet if privacy and consumer protection measures were introduced.

In Ottawa last week, the government tabled legislation that includes measures to protect personal information and privacy.

“For electronic commerce to flourish, we need confidence in how our personal information is gathered, stored and used and clear rules for industry,” said Industry Minister John Manley.