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Wednesday, September 16, 1998 Published at 06:48 GMT 07:48 UK


Net Britannia leads the way

Internet use in the UK has more than doubled in two years

Britons are embracing the Internet age much more than their European counterparts, according to a new survey.

The poll, commissioned by IT Systems and the computer services company ICL, suggests that attitudes to technology across Europe and the US are very different.

Internet correspondent Chris Nutall: Report highlights cultural differences between nations
Mori, which carried out the survey, says the British are generally excited by technology and often keener than other Europeans to consider new applications.

Keith Todd, the Chief Executive of ICL, says that Britons appear to be much more adventurous than some people might imagine.

"Increasingly they are showing themselves to be unafraid to try out new technologies, like smart cards and voting and shopping via the TV and Internet, provided they see the benefit in improving their quality of life," he said.

"What we are hearing loud and clear is that people expect more choice, increased flexibility and better service.

"They want it any time, any place and anywhere, to suit their own particular lifestyle.

"This message has important ramifications for all banks retailers and central and local government."

The survey's key findings included:

  • Of the 3,500 people questioned in the UK, the US, Sweden, France and Germany, a third currently use the Internet.
  • In the UK Internet use has more than doubled over the past two years.
  • Europeans favour an independent body to regulate the Net, while Americans oppose intervention.
  • Internet-phobia is rife in France, where only 17% of people questioned use the Web, the main reason being that they feel it is irrelevant to them.
  • People in the UK, America and Sweden are extremely interested in voting in elections via their computers while Germany and France would be happier banking this way.
  • The UK is the only country where a majority of those questioned felt safe using their credit card to buy goods over the Internet. Germans had the biggest security concerns.
  • Of the Britons surveyed 54% were in favour of a national ID card system, up from 37% in 1994. Swedes were the most worried about the implications for civil liberties.
  • Doctors and banks are the only places universally trusted to hold personal information. Less than half of all respondents would trust the government.

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