Internet's expansion at risk, says report

Surfers still not prepared to give out credit card details

Nine out of ten people are unwilling to give credit card details over the Internet according to new research from accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers published Monday.

The report claims UK e-businesses can no longer afford to ignore e-privacy and urges online firms to educate the public about the security measures they have in place or risk the entire future of the Internet.

Interestingly only two percent of online shoppers claim they have actually been the victims of Web fraud, suggesting a huge gap between perception and reality. The pan-European study found that Brits were the most distrustful of surfers but the rest of Europe is not far behind with 75 percent of consumers saying they opt out of providing personal information on Web sites for fear their data will be misused.

Head of the UK privacy practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers David Wright has a stark warning for e-businesses. "Ignoring e-privacy is a risk businesses cannot afford to take," he says. "Unless companies take action now, e-commerce may remain confined to supplying financially low risk products, such as groceries, books and CDs. Building confidence is the key to the Internet's expansion and without that its enormous potential may be lost."

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