Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

People Say They Care About Their Online Privacy, But Do They Care Enough to Switch?

The rational response to the question, “Do you worry about your privacy online?” is “Yes.”

We transmit and share a ton of information about ourselves online these days. A little concern about how companies and governments and other people treat that personal content is a very good thing.

The privacy seal seller TRUSTe is now going to start asking that do-you-worry question (and some follow-ups) on a quarterly basis, in what it’s calling the Consumer Confidence Privacy Index.

The first time TRUSTe asked — in an online survey of 2,415 U.S. adults in Jan. 2012, conducted by Harris Interactive — 90 percent of respondents said they are worried about online privacy.

Further, 41 percent of those surveyed said they don’t trust most businesses with their personal information online. But that means that 59 percent do.

TRUSTe and Harris also asked whether that lack of trust leads to action. Eighty-eight percent of participants reported that they avoid doing business with companies who they believe do not protect their privacy.

But do people really act on those moral high grounds, and punish specific companies like Path when their privacy oversteps are exposed? Sometimes.

In a separate survey, Digital World Research looked at how upset Google users are over the company’s announcement that it will consolidate its privacy policies and share data between some Google-owned services that hadn’t before.

That survey was only of 60 users, but it found that 60 percent of them said they were concerned about Google aggregating personal data to serve more personalized advertisements.

A slightly larger portion of respondents — 69 percent — said they were “not at all likely” to stop using Google products because of the changes.

Only 4.8 percent told DWR they were “very likely” or “extremely likely” to stop using a Google product because of the changes.

A couple of months back, I wrote about two more studies that looked at how people feel about privacy settings. Here’s that story.

What none of these studies did was measure actual user behavior; they were all surveys that depended on people reporting their own habits and intents.

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