Statscan Survey Shows Internet’s Potential and Pitfalls

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) examines recent Statistics Canada data on Internet use.  The survey found that nearly 17 million Canadians – 68 percent of the adult population – used the Internet for personal non-business reasons last year.  Moreover, almost two-thirds of Canadian adults who accessed the Internet from home did so daily.  This represents a remarkable shift with ten million Canadians reserving some of their at home leisure time for the Internet.

Once online, more than half of Canadian Internet users use the network for email (the highest ranked activity with 92 percent indicating that they used email), web browsing, viewing news and sports, electronic banking and bill payment, as well as accessing information on weather, travel, health, and government services.  Moreover, over 40 percent of Internet users indicated that they engaged in e-commerce, education, and community events.

Despite the success, deeper analysis raises some alarm bells. The trouble spots in the survey – a growing digital divide between urban and rural Canada, continuing concern over privacy and security, and stubborn consumer skepticism of e-commerce – may ultimately convince the government to adopt a more proactive policy approach.

One Comment

  1. Chris Brand says:

    Tie in with DRM
    Of course come of us would use the Internet more for eCommerce if there were more products (e.g music) offered without DRM…