Consumers want to take responsibility for protecting themselves online but ISPs and governments still have an educational role to play, according to an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) report.
"Responsibility for the safeguarding or protection of personal information is considered to be multi-layered, with the individual, the ISP, the online entity and the government all having a role to fulfil," the report said.
"There was a general consensus among participants that the first line of defence in the protection of personal information is at the individual level".
While the role of government in education was acknowledged, participants in the report raised concerns about the increasing encroachment of governments into the online sphere.
But others said that if government regulation in the area was too widespread it would lead to complacency and an abdication of self-responsibility.
"They [government] shouldn't be held responsible for everything. I mean people are copping out all the time. I think you are aggregating the responsibility to government when it is the parent's responsibility to tell the children what to do," commented one participant.
The report found most people were educated about online safety through "discussions with families and friends ... and through consultation with that family member or friend known to be the 'IT expert'."
They also brought home knowledge of file protection and password management from either their workplace or school.
Acting chair of the ACMA Chris Cheah said the ACMA would use the report to develop additional materials to help users, ISPs and others involved in educating the public.