The Internet Society has released some interesting numbers based on an online survey of internet uses in 12 countries.
The data, on the whole, shows that more than two-thirds of people are not confident that politicians fully understand the internet, thus their need to regulate it may be flawed.
The survey was performed by YouGov on behalf of Internet Society between 5th and 15th October 2020 via an online system. Internet Society’s main agenda is to advocate for an open, globally-connected, and secure internet.
The data collected from the evaluation demonstrates how much the pandemic has made the internet an instrumental part of functional economies.
In fact, it has since been established that the internet has scaled seamlessly during the better part of 2020, and has since enabled nearly half of the respondents to continue working and learning.
The collected data come as more governments across the world are focusing on proposals that threaten the Internet.
Some of the threats include the potential removal of intermediary liability protection and other laws that could threaten innovation on the Internet.
The development has been seen in recent times, with the likes of outgoing US President Trump suggesting the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in the US, and the proposed Digital Services Act package in the European Union.
Some of the threats that have also been highlighted are the upcoming Online Harms Bill in the United Kingdom, as well as the threats to upend Brazil’s Civil Rights Framework for the Internet.
The Internet Society’s survey data illustrated that globally, nearly two in five (39%) people have turned to the Internet for services during the pandemic that they would never previously have accessed online.
This number rose to two thirds (66%) of people living in countries with lower rates of Internet penetration, such as Lebanon, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa and India, where the use of online services was less of a norm pre-pandemic.
The entire set of results is summarized here:
- Over two-thirds of Internet users globally (67%) are not confident that politicians have a good enough understanding of the internet to effectively regulate it.
- Nearly half (48%) of Internet users globally say that during the pandemic they have been able to work and/or learn effectively because the internet has allowed them to do so remotely.
- During the pandemic, nearly two in five (39%) of Internet users globally have used online services they never considered using before the pandemic (e.g. online shopping, banking, healthcare, education, etc.).
- On average, two thirds (66%) of Internet users in countries with lower rates of internet penetration, including Lebanon, Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, and India, have used online services they never considered using before the pandemic (e.g. online shopping, banking, healthcare, education, etc.).
- Three in five (60%) Internet users globally reported using the Internet for banking since the start of the pandemic.
- Three in five (60%) Internet users globally reported using the Internet for shopping since the start of the pandemic.
- Just over two in five (41%) Internet users globally reported using the Internet for making phone calls since the start of the pandemic.
- Just under two in five (39%) Internet users globally reported using the Internet for streaming video content since the start of the pandemic.
- Just under two in five (38%) Internet users globally reported using the Internet for accessing news and content from other countries since the start of the pandemic.
What they said
Our survey reflects the widely held concern that politicians are either unequipped or unwilling to work in the interests of an open Internet that benefits everyone. During the pandemic, the Internet has been a lifeline for millions around the world. The increasing centrality of the Internet to our lives makes it even more essential that the Internet remains global and open so that everyone around the world can benefit from the unique capacity for innovation and adaptation that is built into the fundamental architecture of the Internet.
– Joseph Lorenzo Hall, Senior Vice President of the Internet Society