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Internet Users Taking Steps to Restore Anonymity, Privacy & Security

In a recent survey completed by the Pew Research Center concerning online privacy, most Internet users reported that they would like to be anonymous online, though they don’t think this is entirely possible.  The survey polled 1000 US adults, asking them a variety of different questions on the topic of online anonymity, privacy and security.

Key Points

The survey showed that Americans are becoming increasingly careful about the information they share online, and are taking steps to regain some of their lost privacy.  The following are some significant stats from the survey:

  • 86% of the Internet users polled reported that they have taken some step to hide their digital footprint.  Steps taken range from simply clearing cookies to encrypting their email.
  • 55% reported that they have taken measures specifically to avoid being observed by individuals, organizations or governments.
  • 59% of those polled said that they do not believe it is possible to be entirely anonymous while online, and 37% think it is possible.

In addition to the ongoing stories about NSA and other government agencies spying on citizens, people are also concerned with the rising threat of identity theft and other online crimes.  The report found the following statistics in this area:

  • 21% of Internet users reported that they have had an email or social networking account compromised.
  • 12% reported that they had been stalked or harassed online.
  • 6% have been the victim of an online scam resulting in the loss of money.
  • 11% have had personal information stolen (social security numbers, credit card numbers, ect)

Online Privacy

When asked specifically about how important different areas of online privacy were to them, the content of their email was listed as very important the most, with the times of day they were online coming in last.  The specific question asked in this was, “How much do you care that only you and those you authorize should have access to this information?” followed by this list of online activities (with the percentage of people reporting ‘very high’ following the topic):

  • Content of Your Email – 68%
  • People you exchange email with – 62%
  • Content / Files you download – 55%
  • Places you are located when you use the Internet – 54%
  • Content of your online chats / hangouts – 51%
  • Websites you browse – 46%
  • Searches you perform – 44%
  • Apps or programs you use – 40%
  • Times of day you are online – 33%

You can see the full survey results from Pew HERE.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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