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BizReport : Internet : April 11, 2012

Consumer Reports survey reveals 71% very concerned about data sharing

Consumers are more connected than ever before and sharing more, too, but many remain concerned that the information they share with online companies is being sold or shared with other parties without their permission.

by Helen Leggatt

Almost three-quarters (71%) of Americans surveyed by Consumer Reports expressed concern about their online privacy, in particular companies that sell or share their personal information without their permission.

"This survey confirms that most Americans are very concerned about their online privacy," said Ioana Rusu, Regulatory Counsel for Consumers Union. "A lot of people are seriously worried about how their personal information is being exploited."

Furthermore, over half (51%) of the 1,017 respondents expressed concern that their data was being held on to by companies even when it was no longer of any use to them.

However, despite their concerns, just 20% of respondents said they "sometimes" or "always" bothered to read online privacy policies, of which just 5% said they "always" did. Over half admitted to never having read a privacy policy; 42% said they were too long.

Earlier this year, TRUSTe's inaugural Consumer Confidence Edition, a new quarterly index from the privacy management firm, revealed the vast majority of US online users have real concerns about their online privacy.

A whopping 90% of consumers were found to worry about their online privacy be it often, frequently or sometimes. Just 10% never worry about it. Forty one percent disagreed with the statement "I trust most companies with my personal information online" and 12% strongly disagreed.

Tags: Consumer Reports, data protection, data sharing, online security, privacy issues, privacy policy, TRUSTe

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