By TED BRIDIS
The Associated Press
June 15, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Most Americans believe the government should do more to
make the Internet safe, but they don't trust the federal institutions
that are largely responsible for creating and enforcing laws online,
according to a new industry survey.
People who were questioned expressed concerns over threats from
identity theft, computer viruses and unwanted "spam" e-mails. But they
held low opinions toward Congress and the Federal Trade Commission,
which protects consumers against Internet fraud.
"A lot of times, people get us confused with other agencies," said Lee
Peeler, deputy director for the consumer protection bureau at the FTC,
which has sued people accused of sending spam and spyware.
The FBI scored more favorably among Internet users in the survey but
still lower than technology companies, such as Microsoft Corp. and
The telephone survey of 1,003 likely voters was funded by the
Washington-based Cyber Security Industry Alliance, a trade group that
has lobbied the Bush administration to pay greater attention to
Internet security. The alliance also has cautioned lawmakers against
what it considers unnecessary security laws.
"There are some mixed signals here," said Paul Kurtz, the group's
executive director and a former White House cybersecurity official.
"There is definitely a desire to see government provide more
leadership, but there is some anxiety about what ultimately might come
The survey, to be released Wednesday, said 71 percent of people
believe Congress needs to pass new laws to keep the Internet safe. But
Kurtz said Congress and the Bush administration should do a better job
enforcing existing Internet laws against hackers, thieves and vandals
and offer incentives for companies to improve security.
"I don't think the public knows what it wants Congress to do, but it
wants Congress to do something," said Dan Burton, the senior lobbyist
for Entrust Inc., an online security company and member of the trade
group. "They don't have a lot of confidence that Congress will do the
The survey was conducted May 2-9 by Pineda Consulting, with a margin
of error of 3 percentage points. It was limited to people who
indicated they were almost certain or probably would vote in the next
On the Net:
Cyber Security Industry Alliance: www.csialliance.org
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