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US citizens support encryption even when they don’t use it

A study by Zix Corporation has revealed how internet users in the United States view encryption.

The Qualtrics-conducted study, which surveyed more than 500 people in the United States over the age of 18, revealed that the overwhelming majority of respondents view encryption as positive, which is contrary to their own government’s perspective.

When respondents were requested to answer what word they would most associate with encryption, 72 per cent of respondents chose “security,” while 24 per cent chose “privacy” and only a mere 4 per cent chose "threat."

Governments may debate encryption and want to enforce backdoors into their citizens financial transactions as a matter of mitigating threat, however, the popular belief is that their citizens believe encryption is necessary in order to protect their financial transactions. Furthermore, it’s interesting to see how the public perceives encryption and security technology – especially with the amount of coverage it’s currently receiving in the media.

Consequently, the national debate between government and tech giants around the topic of encryption and backdoors into the technology has become toxic. An overwhelming majority of respondents (95 per cent) believe that their sensitive information should be encrypted online.

However, an interesting question is, have you ever used encryption? An astonishing, 43 per cent answered no and 25 per cent said they weren’t sure. Only 32 per cent said yes, they had used encryption.

“As the debate regarding encryption and backdoors continues, it’s interesting to see how the public perceives the technology – especially with the amount of coverage it’s currently receiving in the media,” said David Wagner, CEO of ZixCorp. “We are pleased the majority of people surveyed view encryption in a positive light and recognise its association with security. As a provider of email data protection for more than 15 years, we understand backdoors in any encryption technology only expose and hurt the consumers and businesses that encryption is meant to protect.

"We strongly advocate the use of encryption with frontdoors for protecting business communication and encourage more people to research how encryption properly guards their data, lives and community on a daily basis.”

Photo credit: Maksim Kabakou / Shutterstock