Survey: Americans Want Government To Do More On Cybersecurity


A new survey from Accenture shows that three-quarters of citizens lack confidence in government’s ability to keep their data private and secure. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) also lack confidence in the ability of law-enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cybercrimes. That finding might not be all that surprising to some readers, considering the federal government literally just decided to let telecommunications companies sell your internet browsing data.

Findings in the survey suggest that if government agencies started taking a more proactive approach to cybersecurity, citizen’s view of government would likely improve.

The survey also shows that Americans may be willing to get more sophisticated in their security approach if it means better protection. 66 percent of respondents said they would sacrifice convenience for increased data security. Additionally, respondents expressed support for new security services including biometrics and digital identities, that agencies could adopt to enhance their data privacy and security measures.

“This survey confirms that ‘cyber insecurity’ is pervasive, with citizens feeling concerned and vulnerable,” said Lalit Ahluwalia, who leads Accenture’s security work with state and local government clients in North America.

Improving cybersecurity may also improve citizen’s views of government in general. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents said that increased data-security measures would increase their satisfaction with government agencies, and more than half said that improved data-security measures would increase their willingness to interact with government agencies, along with their confidence and trust in those organizations.

Despite broad-based support for better cybsersecurity, it is still proving difficult for government to commit additional resources. As CivSource has previously reported, the most recent bi-annual National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Cybersecurity Study, showed that underfunding remains a key problem for government security officials. Most states allocate between zero and 2 percent of their overall information technology budget to cybersecurity. As a result, security positions are often left vacant and government agencies often rely on a minimum standard of security training to keep adversaries at bay.