Online shopping is becoming a significant trend all over the world, yet a lot of people show concerns of online privacy and security. A recent US government study shows half of Americans are put off by lackluster security and privacy.
Online Shopping Not Secure Enough
Consumers all over the world have taken a liking to the concept of online shopping. It is very convenient to go to a website, look up the products one wants to buy, pay online, and have goods delivered to one’s doorstep. Brands such as Amazon are reaping the benefits from this e-commerce boom in the internet age, as more and more consumers realize this convenience.
That being said, there are a lot of concerns associated with online shopping as well. A recent study by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration paints a rather worrying picture in this regard, as half of the respondents are concerned about online shopping privacy and security.
Among the risk cited by those surveyed, identity theft remains a major concern for consumers in the US. When buying something online, customers have to fill in all of their personal information, as well as enter payment details. All of this information is stored by the retailer in a database, where it is encrypted and stored.
However, as we have learned over the past few years, there are a lot of database breaches where consumer data is leaked. A significant portion of these hacks revolves around financial information, which is then resold on the deep web or abused by criminals in a different fashion. In some cases, these details will lead to identity theft, giving the hackers access to even more personalized information and services.
These concerns about security and privacy have not gone by unnoticed, and the report calls for better online security, as well as improved cryptographic standards to encrypt information. However, the US government and law enforcement agencies want to weaken encryption on consumer devices, making it doubtful they will agree to improve these standards anytime soon. In fact, 29% of households expressed their concerns about government data collection.
NTIA’s most troubling finding comes from a series of questions about whether households had refrained from participating in certain online activities due to privacy or security concerns during the year prior to the survey. Forty-five percent of online households reported that these concerns stopped them from conducting financial transactions, buying goods or services, posting on social networks, or expressing opinions on controversial or political issues via the Internet, and 30 percent refrained from at least two of these activities.
Moreover, consumers who have been affected by security breaches are less likely to go online shopping again. Conducting online financial transactions always carries certain risks, as credit and debit cards were never intended to be used online on such a large scale. While it is convenient to enter card details and get the order completed, convenience should never trump security when it comes to finance, security, and privacy.
At the same time, online shopping with Bitcoin has no direct ties with one’s identity, and the cryptocurrency can be spent anywhere in the world. Bitcoin.com has a dedicated section for e-commerce, as well as a Bitcoin-friendly store, both of which are worth checking out!
Are you concerned about privacy and security during an online shopping session? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of NTIA, Shutterstock