Americans Fear Online Privacy Violations More Than Job Losses, Survey Says
February 18, 2011 by Special To Personal Liberty
A new survey has revealed that more Americans are concerned about a breach of online privacy than issues regarding the economy.
The research, which was conducted by Opera Software, found that 25 percent of respondents said that they worry about privacy violations on the Internet. By comparison, approximately 23 percent of Americans said that they are concerned about declaring bankruptcy and 22 percent reported that they are afraid of losing their jobs.
When asked who they thought would violate their privacy online, about 35 percent of respondents said they are wary of the government's spying capabilities. Although nearly 80 percent of Americans reported that they have installed anti-virus solutions onto their computers in an effort to protect their privacy, only 61 percent said they use safe passwords.
"It is insightful to speak to people about what worries them online. There are important lessons for all of us about expectations people have for their web experience, and what we can do to improve their feelings of safety and security," said Christen Krogh, the chief development officer for Opera Software.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill recently introduced legislation that aims to protect the privacy of Internet users. According to the Los Angeles Times, Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) put forth two bill proposals on Feb. 11 — Do Not Track Me Online Act and Financial Information Privacy Act. If these drafts are approved, online advertisers would be prohibited from tracking users' online behavior and online companies would not be allowed to share private financial information without the consumers' approval.