Safety in Numbers

The results of opinion polls should always be treated with caution. They usually tell you more about the bias of the people paying for the poll than anything else. So it is no surprise that the new UK government quango responsible for promoting online security, “Get Safe Online” has produced some pretty terrifying stats on the level of internet crime in their first survey. See the press release for the GSO Internet Security survey here. The figure that most worried me is the high proportion of internet users who did not hold themselves responsible for keeping their information secure. Whilst 48% agreed that they were primarily responsible for the safety of their online information, a staggering 13% thought the ISPs should be responsible. A further 16% thought it was the responsibility of their bank (do they also blame their banks if they spend their money foolishly or loose it down the back of the sofa?) Given that the poll also claimed that the average internet fraud cost the victim £875, that is a lot of people willing to risk a lot of their money in the hope that somebody else will cover their losses. See the BBC’s write-up of the GSO survey for these and more stats.

So ISPs should beware. Whatever the legal rights and wrongs, ISPs need to have cast iron contract terms and conditions, and support that with clear communications to customers that explain internet fraud is not the fault of the ISP. At £875 a time, they want to take a lot less risks than their customers….

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.