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The objective of this paper is to investigate to what extent the general public knows about Internet security and digital certificates as well as how likely they would use digital certificates if the certificates are free and ready for them to use. The Hong Kong SAR government introduced a new multi-application smart identity card to its residents in August 2003. As the government wants to encourage its residents to adopt electronic commerce, residents can choose to embed a free digital certificate in their smart identity cards. A survey was conducted in Hong Kong SAR in January 2004 and one hundred and forty questionnaires were returned. Results show that the respondents’ self-reported knowledge of several key concepts related to Internet security were inconsistent. Moreover, respondents did not seem to have much understanding of the usefulness of the digital certificates nor did they appear to be too keen to use the digital certificates for electronic transactions.