Anonymity, Privacy and Security Online - Report
10 September 2013 at 10:46 am
A new survey by the US Not for Profit, the Pew Research Center, finds that most internet users would like to be anonymous online, but many think it is not possible to be completely anonymous using the internet.
The survey found that 86 per cent of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints — ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email.
As well a further 55 per cent of internet users have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organisations, or the government.
The representative survey of 792 internet users also finds that notable numbers of internet users say they have experienced problems because others stole their personal information or otherwise took advantage of their visibility online.
The key findings include:
21 per cent of internet users have had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over by someone else without permission.
12 per cent have been stalked or harassed online.
11 per cent have had important personal information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information.
6 per cent have been the victim of an online scam and lost money.
6 per cent have had their reputation damaged because of something that happened online.
4 per cent have been led into physical danger because of something that happened online.
“Users clearly want the option of being anonymous online and increasingly worry that this is not possible,” Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and an author of a report on the survey findings, said.
“Their concerns apply to an entire ecosystem of surveillance. In fact, they are more intent on trying to mask their personal information from hackers, advertisers, friends and family members than they are trying to avoid observation by the government.”
This survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project was underwritten by Carnegie Mellon University.
In August 2013, the Australian Privacy Commissioner revealed that a significant majority of website “privacy” policies examined by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) are too long and complex.
The Privacy Commissioner released the results of a “privacy sweep” of the websites most used by Australians.
Almost 50 website privacy policies were assessed for accessibility, readability and content. The websites were also assessed against new transparency requirements in the Privacy Act that will come into effect on March 12 2014.