Cross-posted by on WLF’s Contributor Site

What privacy and security concerns do “digital citizens” here in the United States and elsewhere have relating to their use of the Internet, and where can they turn for help? If you asked that question of consumer advocates or government officials, most would reflexively respond that privacy and security concerns are serious and widespread, and that federal and/or state  governments must provide protection. But what if you asked actual consumers? The media often conveys consumers’ thoughts anecdotally, but there is little data-driven research into the perceptions of digital citizens.

October is “National Cyber Security Awareness Month,” and in commemoration of it, Microsoft Corporation did a survey of consumers in five countries, which resulted in the Microsoft Computing Safety Index. The survey is a window (no pun intended) into consumers’ use of online safety tools and their opinions on privacy and security. The survey is the first of its kind, and was limited to Windows-based PC users in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, and Brazil.

I was honored to represent Washington Legal Foundation at a program on October 27 where the Safety Index was released. In attendance were reporters, government agency staff, numerous businesses’ government affairs personnel, and interest group staffers. U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee offered opening comments leading into a panel moderated by Mercatus Center’s Adam Thierer which featured me, Microsoft’s Jacqueline Beauchere, Family Online Safety Insitute CEO Stephen Balkam, and National Cyber Security Alliance CEO Michael Kaiser.