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Method  Foreword
 Consequences of Trust




A detailed and comprehensive presentation of the survey’s results can be found in a previous report (Backhouse and Halperin, 2007). In this paper we provide a concise summary and focus instead on key findings emerging from a quntitative analysis of the survey’s data.  


Using the conceptual framework discussed in section 2 above, the analysis pertains to the 17 research constructs of the survey which are grouped into three broad categories of (1) sources of trust; (2) levels of trust; and (3) consequences of trust. 


Sources of Trust 


Control. The level of citizen control over ID data was considered generally low, with an overall mean of 5.7. Here, as in many cases, UK and Ireland rated highest (6.1), and Central and Eastern Europe was lowest (3.9).

Policy. The majority of respondents did not agree that there will be an appropriate legal environment for regulating the exchange of ID data, 5 was the total mean. But this area was seen in a more positive light than either ID authorities’ competence or citizen control over personal ID data, with Southern Europe below the midpoint (3.8). The mean for Central and Eastern Europe was again the lowest (3.1).

Male respondents turned out to be more pessimistic about creating the appropriate legal environment than female respondents. A very similar gender bias was found in the majority of the 32 statements. 

Governance. Respondents tend to disagree that their interests will be represented in deciding how ID data will be exchanged. Respondents from UK and Ireland are the most pessimistic (6.0), but Austria, Germany and Scandinavia come very close (5.9). The average for Central and Eastern Europe is at the midpoint of the agreement scale.

Gender differences were again important for the issue of governance, woman respondents were slightly more optimistic about their chances of influencing decisions. 

Monitoring. Respondents are slightly more optimistic about monitoring the exchange of ID data, but overall responses are still negative (mean of 5.3). Central and Eastern Europe show a level of optimism, with a mean of 3.3. Here again, males are more pessimistic than females.


Security. The majority of respondents consider that forthcoming ID data systems will be technically insecure. Here again, UK and Ireland rate the highest (5.6), and the mean of Southern Europe is close to that of the Benelux countries and France taken together (4.7). In Central and Eastern Europe the response mean is slightly below 4.

In all types of settlements the chances for a technically secure system are deemed generally low, and in rural and village areas the percentage of disagreement was stronger than in larger settlements. 


Understanding. Respondents are divided in their perceptions as to whether they will be able to assess the benefits and risks when allowing their personal data to be shared by ID authorities. The mean for this statement was near the midpoint. Opinions about their own abilities were especially positive in Austria, Germany and Scandinavia as well as the recent accession EU member states.

Other than regional effects, age is also an important factor for agreement with this statement. Younger respondents tend to consider that they will indeed be able to assess the benefits and risks of sharing personal data with ID authorities, while older respondents feel this will be more difficult for them.


Ease of Use. Respondents from the UK or Ireland were the most optimistic about being able to use the electronic cards. The majority of respondents from Central and Eastern Europe thought that the future cards will be rather difficult to use.

The effect of age on the perceived difficulty of card usage is relatively strong. Interestingly, the younger respondents were slightly more negative about the difficulty of the future electronic cards.  


Usefulness. In all five regions the exchange of ID data between government and business received the highest disagreement score, with an overall mean of 6.2 on the seven grade scale. Austria, Germany and Scandinavia together were the most negative about the exchange of ID data. The overall mean of data exchange across government departments (4.4) is surprisingly positive. Data exchange between government departments as well as between different EU countries comes out well supported, especially in the new member countries and the southern part of Europe.


In all types of settlements the acceptance of data exchange between the government and the private sector was strongly declined. The number of ‘strongly disagree’ answers is close to 70 percent in each groups of settlement.  


Levels of Trust 


Competence. Competence of ID authorities in dealing with or managing ID data received a negative overall evaluation. UK and Ireland rate highest (6.0) and the mean for Southern Europe is around the scale midpoint. The only exception is Central and Eastern Europe, where the response mean is slightly below 4 for both statements pertaining to the construct Competence.


Trusworthiness. The ability of ID authorities to help if problems arise received an overall negative evaluation with a 5.0 score mean. Here UK and Ireland had the most sceptical view, the mean for Central and Eastern Europe was again the lowest.

We found an interesting effect of age on relying on ID authorities for help if problems arise. In contrast, younger respondents agreed with the statement more often, when compared to the older respondents.  


Benevolence and Integrity. The majority of respondents did not believe that ID authorities would act in their interest or deal fairly with their data, with an overall mean of 6.0 and 5.4. UK and Ireland rate highest together with the group of Austria, Germany and Scandinavia.

In this question respondents who declared themselves students were more positive than other respondents who had already finished their studies. The number of ‘strongly disagree’ answers was much lower in the group of students. Still, more than two thirds of the students did not believe that authorities will deal with their data fairly. Among the students, 71 percent chose 5 to 7 on the 7 grade scale, while 82 percent had the same attitudes in the group of respondents who finished their studies younger then 21. 



Method  fidis-wp4-del4.5.a_survey_on_EU_citizens_trust_04.sxw  Consequences of Trust
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