Cultural Differences Account for Global Gap in Online Regulation.

 
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Differences in cultural values have led some countries to tackle the spectre of cyber-attacks with increased internet regulation, whilst others have taken a 'hands-off approach to online security--a new study shows.

Internet users gravitate towards one of two 'poles' of social values. Risk-taking users are found in 'competitive' national cultures prompting heavy regulation, whilst web users in 'co-operative' nations exhibit less risky behaviour requiring lighter regulation.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham used cultural value measurements from 74 countries to predict the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), which measures state commitments of countries to cybersecurity regulation. Dr. Alex Kharlamov, from Birmingham Law School, and Professor Ganna Pogrebna, from Birmingham Business School, published their findings in Regulation & Governance.

They demonstrated that differences in cybersecurity regulation, measured by GCI, stem from cross-cultural differences in human values between countries. They also showed how cultural values mapped onto national commitments to regulate and govern cyber-security. In China, where people are more risk taking than American and British web users across five categories of risk behaviours, regulation is far stricter than in the USA, which in turn is tighter than the UK.

Dr. Kharlamov and Professor Pogrebna showed that this corresponded to the countries' relative positions on the cultural value scale, with China closer to 'competitive' than the USA, which in turn is closer to this 'pole' than the UK. Dr. Kharlamov commented: "We spend most of our lives in the digital domain and cyber-attacks not only lead to a significant financial damage, but also cause prolonged psychological harm--using social engineering techniques to trick people into doing something they otherwise would not want...

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