The Great British public still doesn’t trust the Internet for online shopping or believes that organisations and government bodies will protect confidential data effectively.

Just half of the UK population have ever shopped online and 43% are still citing the hoary old cliché of security as a reason, according to an NOP survery of 999 adults. The profile of the active e-shopper is typically a married 'thirty-something', working full-time and living in London or the South of England.

More men than women have bought something over the Internet (54% versus 47%) and that the younger we are the more confident that our information will remain confidential. The 16-24 year age group are most confident, with 84% professing to be happy with security compared to just 54% of the 65+ age group.

The study noted that confidence levels in the ability of local government agencies to protect confidential information from external threats is also worryingly low. Over a quarter of the population scored their local government security measures at one or two on a scale of five. People are also suspicious of their employers, with only 35% feeling 'very confident' in their employer's ability to keep confidential records secure.

People are actively hankering back to older times with some 34% of respondents arguing that their data was more secure in the pre-digital age when information was stored manually.

Mark Pearce, a security specialist at Enterasys Networks, which commissioned the research, said: "The survey shows that the individual has little confidence in the ability of their employer or public organisation to effectively protect their confidential data.

"British businesses are often fearful to discuss publicly what steps they are taking to improve security internally. Unless we can convince more people that their data is secure they will vote with their feet and refuse to take advantage of the immense commercial advantages that digital business offers