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A new Harris survey found that almost all Americans care about online privacy, and 71% said that they ‘care deeply’ about it. The survey found that the service that worries Americans most regarding their privacy is Facebook with 66% of Americans concerned over it, a full 10 percentage points ahead of email (56%) and worries over private browsing (52%).
Worryingly, Americans also voiced concerns about activities governed not by the rules of the open internet, but by employment contracts, such as using social media while at work (16%), and looking up new jobs while at work (9%), according to Help Net Security.
Other technology platforms which worried the adults under survey were search engines (45%) and social photo-sharing apps such as Instagram (35%).
The activities which worried the surveyed adults most were online banking (71%), online shopping (57%), looking up photos of themselves (27%) and browsing pornography according to Business Insider.
Most of the adults surveyed felt that they should have full rights over their own information online, with 93% believing they should have control over at least some of their private browsing information – and 12% specifying “naked selfies” as an area they would wish to have more control over.
The survey was conducted by WordPress hosting service WP Engine, and found that most web users were concerned about desktop private browsing impacting their privacy.
Mobile apps worried only 30% of those under survey, with online dating apps mentioned by 27% of those surveyed, and instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp mentioned by 23%.
This is despite serious security concerns raised over messaging services such as WhatsApp, recorded by ESET security evangelist Aryeh Goretsky in a detailed blog post. “Security and privacy have gotten off to a slow start in WhatsApp,” Goretsky says.
Overall, it was clear that online banking and financial details posed the biggest worries for American web browsers, with a clear majority concerned over the safety of their data.
“With so much personal detail accessible by each other online, it’s more important than ever to be talking about what information is truly respected as private,” said Heather Brunner, CEO of WP Engine.
“99% of Americans say they care about online privacy, so it’s understandably concerning when you consider the sensitivity around some of their data being shared, from bank records to relationship status, in some cases across public platforms.”
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security