Survey: 77% of U.K. Internet Users Feel Internet is Becoming More Dangerous

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Pretty much every company that operates online has become a big data company. And this constant data mining has been putting users on edge for some time now. New survey data from Broadband Genie, a consumer comparison site, indicates that users in the U.K. don’t have a lot of confidence in the companies holding their data.

Broadband Genie surveyed 3,440 Internet users and discovered that many believe the Internet is getting more dangerous and are looking for ways to protect themselves. 80 percent use an antivirus, 57 percent use a firewall, and 53 percent are using malware and spyware detection tools. However, there are still some areas of concern, such as the 10 percent of people using nothing.

Relatively few people have fallen victim online. Only 15 percent say they have had their personal data exposed in a leak and only 12 percent have been the victim of an online scam. However 54 percent have caught a computer virus.

77 percent of users surveyed still believed the Internet was getting more dangerous, while 65 percent believed that they were personally safe online. 75 percent of people believe that online companies are not doing enough to secure their personal data, and they’re right to be skeptical. Other recent data has revealed that nearly 90 percent of the most popular websites online are leaking data to third parties.

While Broadband Genie head of strategy Rob Hillborn says it’s important for companies to employ “rigorous security procedures” to mitigate risks, he also encourages consumers to be proactive about their own digital security.

He said in a statement:

It’s also important for users to consider what protection they’ve got on the other devices they own. It’s not uncommon for users to access their personal information from laptops, phones and tablets, so it’s important to make sure these devices which are often overlooked are also secure.

Readers: Do you think the Internet is getting more dangerous? Are you worried about the security of your personal information online?

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U.K. Leaders Take Aim at Facebook’s Tax Bill

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ExaminingTaxes650The chair of the U.K. Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, had some harsh words for Facebook over its low tax bill and its method of legally avoiding taxation by channeling its revenues through Ireland, home of its European headquarters.

The Guardian reported that Facebook reported nearly 3 billion euros ($ 3.69 billion) in advertising sales in Europe, yet it paid just €2.3 million ($ 2.83 million) in tax, adding that the company channeled €2.9 billion ($ 3.56 billion) of its global revenues through Ireland, as well as paying out another €2.9 billion ($ 3.56 billion) in “administrative expenses,” most of which were royalty payments to the parent company.

Hodge said, as reported by The Guardian:

(Facebook appears to be) using elaborate corporate structures and artificial devices for no purpose other than to avoid tax.

It is clear from opinion polls that the overwhelming majority of British people do not regard this as morally acceptable. We have to take tough action to crack down on this behavior, and the U.K. should be leading the way on this issue, as well as participating in the multilateral process that is going on through the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and G20.

It seems that Facebook — like Starbucks, which this week admitted that it will pay no corporation tax in the U.K. for the next three years — is still refusing to listen to the voice of public opinion.

Earlier this week, U.K. Chancellor George Osborne said in his autumn statement, as reported by The Guardian:

Some of the largest companies in the world, including those in the tech sector, use elaborate structures to avoid paying taxes. That’s not fair to other British firms. It’s not fair to British people, either. Today we’re putting a stop to it. My message is consistent and clear: low taxes, but low taxes that will be paid.

Readers: Is Facebook U.K. tax party about to end?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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