Privacy Report

A group of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania has released a report that is among the first quantitative studies looking at young people’s attitudes toward privacy as government officials and corporate executives alike increasingly grapple with such issues. Learn about the privacy report.

Questions about privacy

The research started with a series of questions about privacy and commissioned a survey of 1,000 Americans 18 years of age and over. Despite their picture posting, tweetaholic, Facebook-status updating ways, young people’s attitudes were aligned with old people’s attitudes when it came to the privacy issues addressed.

What are companies doing with your information?

The privacy explored by the Berkeley-ites tended to be of the “what are companies doing with your information” variety. Here are some of the questions posed (and the options for answering):

– Have you ever refused to give information to a business or a company because you thought it was not really necessary or was too personal? (Yes, No, etc.)

– Generally speaking, anyone who uploads a photo or video of me to the internet where I am clearly recognizable should first get my permission. (Agree, Disagree, etc.)

The percentage of people agreeing with this was in the 80s in every age group, except among the 45-54 age group, in which 90% of people agreed.

Privacy report – Interesting findings

Here are other interesting findings of the report:

  • 86% of those questioned believe that anyone who posts a photo or video of them on the Internet should get their permission first, even if that photo was taken in public.
  • 88% of people of all ages said they have refused to give out information to a business because they thought it was too personal or unnecessary.
  • 40% of adults ages 18 to 24 believe executives should face jail time if their company uses someone’s personal information illegally — the same as the response among those 35 to 44 years old.

Privacy report – The conclusion

To sum up, the conclusion the researchers reached in their report is:

In policy circles, it has become almost a cliché to claim that young people do not care about privacy. Certainly there are many troubling anecdotes surrounding young individuals’ use of the internet, and of social networking sites in particular. Nevertheless, we found that in large proportions young adults do care about privacy. The data show that they and older adults are more alike on many privacy topics than they are different. We suggest, then, that young-adult Americans have an aspiration for increased privacy even while they participate in an online reality that is optimized to increase their revelation of personal data.

Online Privacy – A Significant Concern for Web Users

A recent study by Burst Media, conducted in December 2008, takes a closer look at consumers’ understanding of online privacy. The results of the online survey show that a majority of users are aware that a lot of sites and ISPs log and share information about their online activities. Over 80% of web surfers are concerned about online privacy.

Most Web Users Believe Web Sites are Tracking Their Surfing Behavior

Three out of five respondents say it is likely that a website collects non-personally identifiable information (PII) – such as a visitor’s geographic location or type of Internet connection. A very interesting result shows that concern rises with age and only about half of all respondents under 24 thought that websites collect non-personally identifiable information. 70% of the older respondent over 55, on the other hand, thought that websites tracked non-personally identifiable information.

Online Privacy

Web Surfers Not Willing to Give Up Privacy for More Relevant Advertising

Burst Media also looked at people’s sentiments about targeted advertising. Only one-in-five (23.2%) respondents would not mind if the non-personally identifiable information was collected if ads were better targeted. The survey also has shown that women (26.7%) were clearly more concerned about this than men (19.9%), and older respondents were more likely to disapprove of websites collecting non-identifiable information in return for more relevant ads.