back to article Brits terrified of online fraud, but want magic cars, says BT

Britons' fear of online crime has rocketed in the last ten years, according to BT. The UK telco makes the claim in its new "21st Century Life Index", a pile of research examining how consumer attitudes to technology have changed since the heady days of 1998 and the information superhighway. Back then only 3 per cent said that …


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  1. Steve


    "Today the proportion wishing for a less dangerous online life is 28 per cent. Yet just 2 per cent of non-internet users cite fraud as the reason they stay offline."

    Doesn't that suggest 'concern' rather thajn 'fear' ? Won't make as good a headline, though, will it?

  2. Chris

    BT and Phorm

    I can see the questionaire now:

    1. What annoys you most about the internet?

    a) Not enough Goatse

    b) Irrelavant advertising

  3. Pete Silver badge

    The quickest way to go bankrupt

    ... is to base your business plan on what people tell you they want.

    Apart from the well-known problem that people respond to surveys by trying to please the surveyor - giving the answer they think the surveyor wants to hear, the "man in the street" has a very idealised self-image. Ask questions about what they think about over-eating or littering and they'll agree those are bad things - then drop their empty crisp bag on the pavement as they walk away.

    Even worse: ask them if they'd be willing to pay (say) £5 for a new product and a lot of people will say "yes". Respond with "OK, here it is, lets have your money" and the excuses will start. The only way to actually work out what will be a success is to start making things (or offering a service). If people buy it then it stands a chance. If not, go and do something else before you go bust.

    When asked, 9 out of 10 people said they didn't believe in surveys.

  4. Peter Ford

    Never mind online fraud

    I'd like to see less real-world fraud too.

    And less corruption.

    And less government incompetence.

    Which all amount to the same thing most of the time.

    At least having a government who haven't a clue about the internet means we don't have them to blame for online fraud as well...

    As for Phorm suggesting "irrelevant advertising" being an annoyance, I reckon ALL advertising is an annoyance, so why would I care if it's irrelevant?

  5. CyberSword

    Crime increase

    Actually, it's a little known fact that on-line crime has increased exponentially since the seventies.

    Mines the one with the 'Dept of Bleedin' Obvious' badge.

  6. Iain


    I think that (as Steve says) concern is very justified if such reports as this:

    are accurate.

    But then people should also not use the technology unless they are able to understand all the risks etc involved and therefore take appropriate care/precaution.

    Unfortunately sensible advice does not sell newspapers, scaremongering does.

  7. James

    OMGz no

    [quote]Back then only 3 per cent said that if they could improve the internet in one way it would be to make it safer from scammers and other reprobates. Today the proportion wishing for a less dangerous online life is 28 per cent. Yet just 2 per cent of non-internet users cite fraud as the reason they stay offline.[/quote]

    Hmm, kinda obvious really. The figures from 10 years ago and the figure for people not using the web for security reasons today are very close and would suggest that peoples attitudes to the problem have not changed, but rather that the threat is now more widespread and people are more knowledgeable about it. Ask a random person in the street about phishing 10 years ago and they would show you to the nearest tackle shop. People are now more knowledgeable.

    Knowledge does not make people more concerned, it provides them with the tools to have informed opinions. Now they have the knowledge of scammers, they are concerned about it. Before, they were not.

    Not exactly earth shattering research, I could have guessed the figures fairly accurately.

  8. Eponymous Cowherd
    Paris Hilton

    So the best way to deal with online fraud is.....

    to do a deal with a know spyware pusher and sell him all of your customer's data.

    Problem is, unlike 10 years ago, 90% of the online population of the UK are now clueless numpties who will suck hard and swallow when BT tells them Phorm is good for them.

  9. GeekSquared

    BT have just the product to cure you of your online fraud fears


  10. James Anderson


    There seems to be this wierd bug in homo sapiens phsycoligical makeup.

    When there is something to be afraid of they make reasoned, informed descisions and in dangerous environments they take descisions which are not "risk averse".

    When there is next to nothing to be afraid of (and statisticly in Western Europe the average individual has nothing to be afraid of except dying of old age and catching sight of Noel Edmunds while flicking channels) they get paranoid, become fearful and absurdly risk averse.

    The Southern England is probably the worse place on the planet for this now. The molloycoddling of children, the Kafaesqe intricacies of Health and Safety regulations, the constant "water is bad for you" health scares.

    We belong to a species that originated in Africa and populated nearly every part of the planet on foot or by dugout canoe. We can live in the waterless, plantless sharaha dessert or the constant snows of the Arctic.

    Tigers, Lions, and Grizzly bears are afraid of US and were so when our technoligy consited of sticks and some not very sharp stones.

    Get a grip, stop reading the Daily Mail and get a life.

  11. Markie Dussard

    El Reg readers terrified of BT customer survey results ...

    ... so pour scorn on the bits they don't agree with.

    If nobody asked, you'd complain about that. If they do ask, you say they're shit to do so. If you can't grow beyond your prejudices, at least try and make them vaguely consistent with each other.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    risks assessment

    "people should also not use the technology unless they are able to understand all the risks"

    Most people have no clue about the *real* risks involved in driving a car or owning possessions - if they did they'd not waste time with insurance...

    As for eating cheese or watching telly - let alone having an operation or playing football....

  13. Anonymous Coward

    RE: the reanimation of Rod Hull

    You're sick. Sick, I tells ya!!

  14. Luke
    Paris Hilton

    BT knows what the punters want!

    Fast bradband eh? That's what the punters want, now get your hand into those comfy cord trousers the goverment GAVE you 20 years ago forgetting that the pockets were stuffed with a never ending supply of PUBLIC MONEY and give us all high speed fibre.

    Paris, because I'd rather shaft her than get shafted by BT!!

  15. b

    who was on the web 10 years ago?!

    ...that and:

    was there even such a thing as "online fraud" 10 years ago?

    simple answer is to only buy off retailers you can trust. you wouldn't (or SHOULDN'T) give your cc details to dodgy restaurants and shops, so why do it online?

    also if you have online banking (even with the absolutely DREADFUL barclays), you can check your accounts every other day or so and keep an eye on what's going on, rather than waiting a month or 3 for the paper statements to arrive.



    stuff and nonsense:

  16. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Online Fraud

    Would that include BT trialling Phorm/Webwise without telling anyone or getting the permission of the subscribers it trialled, then denying, when specifically asked, that it had done anything?

    Security? BT has probably heard of it.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sign me up......

    ...... For a water powered car

    But only if it runs on tap water :)

  18. The Other Steve

    Poorly phrased questions asked by stealth, serves em right.

    "There's bad news for BT's plans to justify billions of pounds in fast fibre investment by carrying high definition TV - only 13 per cent said they would be interested."

    That's because they tacked this question on to lots of their other surveys (mostly aimed at early adopters of their various new bits of kit, with which, due to the combined technical avarice of me and SWMBO, TOS HQ is now liberally strewn) and phrased it something along the lines of "Would you pay more for more TV channels".

    Now I don't know about anyone else, but when the people to whom I already pay rather a lot of money for various services, and who have recently behaved so badly, phone me up and ask me if I'd like to give them some more, my options seem pretty clear.

    Still, it's nice to be asked.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    RE: the reanimation of Rod Hull

    Ah, I remember Rod, lovely chap. Terrible shame when he died, we were all really upset. I was invited to his funeral. The service was lousy .....

    .... but the reception was great!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    online fraud 10 years ago ...

    Of course there was online fraud 10 years ago, longer, some say the internet existed even before that but few believe it. I want to believe.

    True the fraud was a lot less sophisticated than the 419 "Goood Evening Sirs, I am the longlost relative cousin of Mr. Important who ..." and ran more along the lines of "Get a Green Card! Worlds leading immigration lawyers will help you ..." fill in a publicly available form to enter the yearly green-card lottery for a huge fee.

    There wasn't quite the same level of obsession with increasing your member's girth ... and PH was in ascii :(

  21. George

    Scared of it doesn't stop them clicking the buttons...

    ...that say 'Free Pron' (spelling changed to protect the innocent!).

    Also you have the user who flatly denies downloading a script from "" even though its referenced 3 times by different programs.

    Its the users fault I tell you!

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Registering your demands...

    .. sounds like a waste of time to me. Where's that artificially-intelligent nanotech-based talking yoghurt they were promising us last time round, eh?

    BT futurologist == Captain cyborg on acid, if you ask me.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    The reanimation of Rod Hull vs. Pinky and the Brain: Are you ponderin' what I'm ponderin?

    I think so, Brain.... but where on earth are we going to find an emu that's willing to shove an arm up *his* arse?

  24. Stef
    Thumb Up

    RE: the reanimation of Rod Hull

    As Rod Hull is buried next to my dad and granddad, do you think they could do the trifurcate?

    (actually, might be tricky, my granddad is ashes).

  25. N

    what annoys me most about the Internet...


  26. Zmodem

    online fraud is a gimmick

    fraudsters have to get your bank info out of your domestic dustbin, online transactions via paypal etc wont ask for chip n pin, organized tends to focus on email scams then hacking

  27. Frumious Bandersnatch

    Zombie Rod Hull on a Stick!

    and I didn't een know he was dead...


    Douglas Adams had it all wrong

    Its not the hairdressers, tired TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, public relations executives, management consultants who need to leave Earth on the 'B' Ark.

    Its the Marketing trade. All of them. They can leave Earth first, and we'll all follow.

    "The idea was that into the first ship, the 'A' ship, would go all the brilliant leaders, the scientists, the great artists, you know, all the achievers; and into the third, or 'C' ship, would go all the people who did the actual work, who made things and did things, and then into the `B' ship - that's us - would go everyone else, the middlemen you see.". He smiled happily at them. "And we were sent off first," he concluded.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ask a loaded question

    'Today the proportion wishing for a less dangerous online life is 28 per cent.'

    Hmmm isn't this the official reason for Phorm?

  30. pctechxp

    What I want is

    a non-throttled and phormed fibre backbone linked to routers in strett cabinets providing ethernet to the home so I can say goodbye to crap ADSL and a bloody landline phone I don't need or want.

    The Mechwarrior-esque powered exoskeleton sounds good too

    Mines the one with the integrated taser

  31. kain preacher

    scoff at you

    and any one else that askes was there CC fraud ten years ago. CC fraud has been a problem for AOL for at least ten years.

  32. Zmodem

    all the more

    not real fraud with online CC applications, easily done with the tards of the gov letting anyone access the worthless electoral registar complete with your xdir phone number, cant picture a q of down the library asking to view it

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @Markie Dussard

    Look, if you're going to post on behalf of your employer at least have the courtesy to say so.

    As for prejudices of El Reg readers, you might want to take a wee breather there Markie Mark and ask yourself where these prejudices come from.

    It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that BT has committed highway robbery for so many years? Or how about the fact that they are keen on joining forces with dodgey internet outfits like Phorm to pimp out our private lives?

    You're damn right we're prejudiced. If it's so offensive, why not find a publication that conducts a BT love-in? I'm sure there's a fetishist S&M magazine out there with a readership that likes having their balls put in a vice.

    If everyone in the room smells shit and you have just walked in, then it might be a good idea to check the sole of yor shoe. Guaranteed that whatever is stuck to it is preferable to the kind of slime you might find pimping our data at BT.

  34. Florence Stanfield

    BT, Phorm and the government.

    It is a three way split BT got into bed with phorm a company already rejected for rootkit spyware/malware in the same years by the public. Government sees a way to put survailence on all UK subjects for free forgets that in doing so could lead to worse DATA breach than all the laptops , flash pens, CD's of personal data they have already left about the world.

    Phorm is an untrusted company by Internet uses due to past dealings, BT is also losing customer trust over this VM and talktalk will lose trust but to add all IF there is a government deal where BT will not get into prosecuted over the stealth trials can we ever trust a labour government again?

    Try asking the British people if.

    1, they like to be observed as a terrorists while just living their normal life?

    2, treated as guilty until proven innocent?

    3, allowing all data about them held in servers by the government?

    4, Accept profiling for adverts using words harvested from being stalked over the internet?

    5, Be told how the internet should be used by people in the government who don't understand the workings of the internet themsleves?

    6, If all above goes ahead would you start to encrypt everything from daily browsing to emails?

  35. pctechxp

    here's an idea

    Ok BT wants to use Phorm so....

    If you agree to it you get your line rental and broadband paid for (sounds like a fair trade)

    if you dont you just pay like normal but your data takes a completely diffeent route to avoid the phoem server farm?

    (I'd rather pay and not have phorm but its a motion worthy of debate so thats why I thought I'd post)

    Interested to read responses.

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