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Survey Shows Security Concerns Rising In America

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

It is a common perception that American internet users don’t care about their online privacy. But as per a recent survey conducted by TRUSTe, the company which issues privacy seals to online businesses; and National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a non-profit organization which promotes cyber security awareness; a large number of Americans are not only worried about their privacy, they are even taking steps in order to safeguard it. The survey entitled “US Consumer Privacy Index 2016” was conducted in December’ 2015 in order to get an idea about the issues which worry online users in United States.

The survey results clearly show that consumer privacy concerns are not only real, they are in fact growing year after year. As per the results published by TRUSTe, 92 percent of the respondents were worried about online privacy, 31 percent had some understanding about how online companies were sharing their personal information, 68 percent were worried about not knowing how personal information was being collected from them, 89 percent totally avoided companies which did not protect their privacy while 45 percent were more worried about online privacy than a year ago. Not only that, 37 percent of the respondents named collection and sharing of their personal data by online companies as their topmost concern.

The survey results also reveal the extent of privacy awareness within United States. On the whole, 75 percent of the participants believed that they were taking adequate steps to protect their personal data on the internet while 44 percent were of the opinion that online privacy will improve with greater consumer awareness. However, the survey also shows that a lot of American internet users are clueless about how to manage their privacy online. For instance, just 43 percent of the respondents knew that they could change privacy settings on social sites (29 percent had actually done it), 33 percent were aware that they could read privacy policies for websites (just 16 percent had actually read them), 60 percent were aware that they could delete cache, cookies and browsing history (55 percent had done it) whereas 43 percent knew that they could turn off location based tracking (29 percent people had actually done it).

The survey data also highlights the business impact arising out of privacy concerns of the users. As many as 74 percent of the survey participants admitted limiting their online activities due to privacy concerns, 51 percent admitted to not clicking on ads, 44 percent withheld personal information, 32 percent didn’t download an app or a software, 28 percent stopped an online payment, 36 percent stopped using a particular website whereas 29 percent stopped using a mobile app.

Finally, the survey also shows what kind of control online users want over their personal information. 45 percent of the participants wanted control over who had access to their information, 42 percent wanted control over how their information was being used, 41 percent wanted to restrict the type of information being collected from them whereas 23 percent sought an easy way to delete their personal information. Not only that, 32 percent of the participants felt that protecting information online was too complex while 38 percent believed that publishing clear guidelines for removal of personal information would increase trust. The survey results clearly show that online businesses that care about the privacy of their users are trusted a lot more and have a greater chance of success in the long run.

October 12, 2016

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