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Internet Users Concerned by Privacy of their Personal Data
By: MarkJ - 23 February, 2009 (9:06 AM)

The latest survey of 4,000 adults by advertising firm Burst Media has revealed that 80.1% of web surfers are concerned about the online privacy of their personal information (i.e. age, gender, income and web surfing habits). Furthermore the concern increases with age, rising from 67.3% among respondents 18-24 years to 85.7% with respondents 55 years and older.

Similarly people saw no value in adverts that had been targeted to them based on their web surfing behaviour, despite some systems claiming to enhance the surfing experience. Only 23.2% of respondents would not mind if non-personally identifiable information was collected if ads were better targeted:

Behavioural Targeting Approval Chart 2008

The findings represent grim reading for Phorm, which works with UK ISPs to monitor what websites you visit for use in targeted advertising campaigns. The service has caused more than a few privacy fears, not least because of BT's secret 2006 and 2007 trials, which were conducted without customers’ knowledge or consent.

There was a noted difference in the response of men and women with men more likely than women to say they would not mind the targeting of ads based on non-personally identifiable information, 26.7% versus 19.9%. Meanwhile 61.9% claimed to be aware of the tracking, collecting and sharing of information that occurs as a result of online activities.

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