Most EU Internet users 'concerned' over cybercrime: poll

BRUSSELS - A majority of Internet users in the EU say they are concerned their personal information is not kept secure by public authorities and websites, according to the bloc's surveyor of public opinion.

Eurobarometer reported Tuesday that the concerns come amid a sharp rise in citizens' fears that they could become a victim of cybercrime.

According to the survey, 85 percent of Internet users across the EU agreed that the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime was increasing up from just nine percent from a similar study conducted in 2013.

Most respondents said they were also concerned their personal information was not being kept secure, with 67 percent saying they worried about it not being safely held by public authorities' and 73 percent saying they were concerned over website security.

- Fears of misuse

A total of 43 percent said they were mostly concerned about their personal data being misused and 42 percent are worried about the security of online payments.

The figures come as EU officials call on telecommunication companies to share encryption keys with EU authorities as part of an "anti-terror" strategy following the Paris attacks in January in which 17 people were killed and a series of anti-terror raids across Belgium.

However, the European Union’s human rights body, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, on Jan. 27 expressed ''deep concern'' over mass surveillance practices being used by intelligence services as revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, saying there was little evidence of them preventing terrorist attacks.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, said at the time: ''Our priority is to create a safer Internet for all users by preventing and combating cybercrime in all its forms, to enable users to reap the full benefits of the digital internal market and to exercise their fundamental rights online.''

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