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BizReport : Internet : January 28, 2015

UK: Privacy concerns rising, trust falling

The sharing of personal data by companies is the top concern among British consumers, according to the latest annual TRUSTe Consumer Confidence Index, which reveals a third are more concerned about their privacy today than they were a year ago.

by Helen Leggatt

Nearly all (92%) Internet users in the U.K. have concerns about their online privacy and 33% are more concerned now than they were a year ago, according to the Index. As privacy concerns rise and trust falls, 80% of consumers are changing their online behavior which, says TRUSTe, has a significant impact on business.

Ways in which privacy concerns have affected consumer behavior include:

- 58% have refrained from clicking online ads;

- 58% have deleted cookies;

- 53% have withheld personal information they were asked for

- 37% have not downloaded an app/product;

- 30% have turned off location tracking;

- 26% stopped an online transaction before completion;

- 13% have opted out of behavioral ads;

- 8% have deleted an online account.

trust.pngOf all the various causes for concern, the possibility of companies sharing personal information they have collected with other companies is the most widespread (48%). More so than online security threats such as the Heartbleed bug (35%) or Government surveillance programs (21%). In fact 45% disagreed with the sentiment "personal online security is not as important as national security".

"With the highest number of data breaches on record in 2014, it is hardly surprising that the privacy and security of online data is a big issue in Britain and a growing concern," said Chris Babel CEO, TRUSTe. "But with frequent terrorist threats reported on the news it is surprising that so many people consider their personal privacy more important than countering that threat."

British consumers want businesses to be more transparent about the collection and use of personal data (42%) and play a great role in "enforcement of measures to protect privacy online" (36%). A third (35%) believe that passing more legislation to protect personal data online would help alleviate their concerns. In practical terms, 39% would like easy opportunities to cease contact by third parties, 26% would like companies to ask for permission before using cookies and offer notice and ways to opt out of targeted ads and a quarter (25%) would like privacy policies to be written in language that is easy to understand.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: data capture, online security, privacy

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