1 in 3 Americans Concerned With Tech Privacy

December 2, 2011

This article is included in these additional categories:

Privacy & Security | Retail & E-Commerce

ncsa-tech-negative-implications-nov11.gif35% of Americans cite privacy concerns as their best description of the negative aspects or implications of a more technology-connected lifestyle, according to [pdf] a National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and McAfee study released in November 2011. Data from the “2011 Internet Home Users Survey” indicates that 22% dislike the cost implications of new devices and connectivity/service plans, while 15% miss the face-to-face social connections with family, friends, and community. Less than 1 in 10 say they dislike being always connected and reachable by work, matched by the proportion that say there are no negative aspects or implications to a more connected lifestyle.

Almost half of respondents say that the connectivity of the internet has helped their personal relationships with friends and family.

4 in 10 Have Abandoned a Purchase

42% of respondents say they have stopped or abandoned a purchase on a web site in the past year because of a safety or security concern. The leading reason was a lack of certainty over the security of the site (56%), closely followed by a feeling that the site requested more information than the consumer thought necessary (53%). A general concern about providing the information requested (46%) and uncertainty about the legitimacy of the company or site (44%) were also significant factors in abandoning a web purchase, although a smaller proportion felt unsure about how their personal information would be used (26%).

According to an October 2011 study by LoyaltyOne, almost one in four US and Canadian consumers have decided against making an online purchase because they weren’t sure how a company would use their personal information. This figure rises to 30% among consumers who have been notified of a data breach and 37% who have been negatively affected by a data compromise.

Most Feel Capable With SocNet Settings

Social network privacy settings do not appear to be a major driver of security concerns, though: 47% of respondents say they are confident in their ability to use privacy and security settings in the social networks they are part of, compared to 24% who report feeling a lack of confidence in their ability. Respondents appear to be fairly active in this area, too: 22% report having checked or changed their settings in the past week, while a further 22% have done so in the past month.

Even so, almost half say they have changed the way they use social networks in the past year because of safety and security concerns, while 51% say they are not sharing more information on social media today than last year.

Other Findings

  • Only 19% of respondents agree that storing information in the cloud is more secure than storing information on a personal device, compared to 33% who disagree.
  • 55% back up data and digital information on at least a monthly basis. The leading reason for not doing so more often is a lack of concern (49%).
  • 83% use separate passwords for their major online accounts such as social networking, banking, and bill payments. 52% report having changed the password on a major online account in the past 6 months without being prompted to by the service provider. The main reason for not changing passwords more often is a concern over forgetting them (44%).

About the Data: IBOPE Zogby International was commissioned by the National Cyber Security Alliance and McAfee to conduct an online survey of 2,337 adults. A sampling of IBOPE Zogby International’s online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the U.S., was invited to participate from 9/23/11 to 9/28/11.

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