Online Consumer Privacy Concerns Growing

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Two recent papers published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project highlight the continued growing concern about privacy. In Privacy Implications of Fast, Mobile Internet Access, Susannah Fox suggests that consumers are reluctant to share personal information when they are given control over disclosure:

More generally, consumers are now expressing a more consistent interest in control over personal information: for, example, 59% of adults have refused to provide information to a business or company because they thought it was not really necessary or was too personal. Still, many people are uploading their work histories to LinkedIn, or their photos to Flickr, or their personal musings MySpace, choosing to connect their online identities with these key pieces of personal information.

John Horrigan’s report on online shopping reinforces this finding:

Most online Americans have high levels of concern about sending personal or credit card information over the internet. While the number of e-shoppers continues to grow, there is still widespread concern in the internet population about the safety of financial and personal data online. 75% of Internet users either agree (39%) or strongly agree (36%) with the proposition that they do not like giving out their credit card number or personal information online.

It is becoming clear that new Internet business models are beginning to make online consumers in America even more uneasy about their privacy than they already were.

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