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45 Percent US Citizens Consider Privacy More Important Than National Security

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Wednesday, April 15th, 2015


The 2015 edition of TRUSTe’s US Consumer Confidence Index has just been published and it provides a revealing peek into what Americans think about online privacy and how they are trying to preserve it amidst unprecedented levels of surveillance. We already know that Americans treasure their privacy but if the results published by TRUSTe are to be believed, as many as 45% of citizens consider privacy to be more important than even national security. The latest edition of Consumer Confidence Index is based on the data collected from 1000 American citizens who participated in couple of surveys conducted by Ipsos on behalf of TRUSTe.

TRUSTe’s Index shows how online privacy has become a major concern for internet users. Amongst the participants, 92% admitted to being worried about their privacy as compared to a similar percentage in 2014, 89% in 2013 and 90% in 2012. What’s more, 42% admitted to being more worried about their privacy than they were just a year ago. When asked about their biggest privacy concern, 38% reported that they were extremely worried about companies collecting and sharing their personal data with other companies, 36% cited security threats to personal data online, 28% were wary about government surveillance, 22% were unhappy with companies tracking their online behavior while 19% considered social sites sharing their personal details with advertisers as their topmost privacy concern.

The 2015 edition of US Consumer Confidence Index also shows how consumer trust has declined over the past few years. Only 55% of the participants said that they trusted most companies with their personal information. The figure is down from 57% from 2013 and 59% from 2012 (the figure for 2014 was identical to 2015). And what is bound to give a rude jolt to online portals and marketing companies, as many as 22% of survey participants said that they didn’t trust anyone to protect their privacy.

The Index also throws a light on how online business is getting impacted due to privacy concerns of the users. 91% of poll participants admitted that they avoided companies with a poor record of protecting their users’ privacy altogether (the figure was 89% for 2014 and 2013 and 88% for 2012). The survey also shows how users have adjusted their online behavior in the last one year in order to protect their privacy. Amongst the participants, 77% said that they have moderated their online activities due to privacy concerns, 57% admitted to not clicking on online ads, 51% withheld their personal information, 35% avoided downloading apps or other softwares, 25% stopped a financial transaction while 9% deleted their accounts from one or more sites.

TRUSTe’s Consumer Confidence Index also reveals that consumers are finally taking charge of their online activities. Amongst the people polled, 78% believed that they themselves are responsible for protecting their privacy while 86% admitted to taking one or more steps in order to preserve their privacy (including but not limited to deleting cookies, changing privacy settings, opting out of ads, reading privacy policies and turning off location based tracking). However, a large number of respondents (49%) still believed that they are not doing enough or devoting sufficient time for protecting their privacy on the internet.


April 15, 2015
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