A VACUUM HAS emerged over exactly who should manage and maintain the internet.
A poll by CIGI and Ipsos showed that only 57 percent of respondents would be happy with 'a combined body of technology companies, engineers, non-governmental organisations and institutions that represent the interests and will of ordinary citizens and governments to play an important role in running the internet'.
Even fewer are willing to let the geeks inherit the Earth, as only 54 percent approved of 'an international body of engineers and technical experts'.
But the worst score of all was for the US government. Just 36 percent liked the idea of letting the nation run the show unilaterally.
Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, agrees. "The public have got it right. You shouldn't trust anyone to run the internet," he said.
"Only transparent collaborative processes can be trusted - not to get everything right but so you know when things are going wrong.
"The government, and even the UN, which is made up of governments, can close out public concern and have an interest in shaping the internet to enable censorship and surveillance, so they cannot be completely trusted on their own."
The news comes as the US is slowly relinquishing its hold on the internet. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which is currently run by the US government as part of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers as the controlling mechanism for top-level domains, is going to have its power divested into a global stakeholder group in the coming months.
The plans have been in place since the early days of the internet, but that did not stop Fox News reporting in March that Obama planned "to give the internet away".
The CIGI/Ipsos poll was conducted in 24 countries and took in the views of 23,376 internet users.
The results show that the name Edward Snowden has achieved good saturation. Some 60 percent of respondents recognised the name and who he is, but only 39 percent of those have changed their habits as a result of his leaks.
In fact, user complacency in matters of security remains a concern for the safety of the internet.
Around 36 percent believe that private information on the internet is 'very secure', while 37 percent admit to sharing personal information with private companies online all the time and that 'it’s no big deal'.
Some 41 percent go so far as to say they 'believe the chance of their personal information being compromised is so small that it's not worth worrying about'.
Commenting on the figures, internet security company Malwarebytes said: "From a security point of view the survey demonstrates that, despite a year full of corporate and consumer data breaches, there is still apathy towards protecting personal data online.
"The fact that over a third of people think their private information is 'very secure' online is worrying."
The firm added that web users need to be much more aware of the potential exposure of personal information online.
"Names, email addresses, bank details and login credentials are the currency on which a few greedy individuals trade," it said.
"By securing your computer and being careful what you share and where, people can get the most out of this fantastic resource in a safe manner."
Earlier today, the United Nations formally came out against the use of snooping techniques by governments. µ
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