SIGNUPABOUTBW_CONTENTSBW_+!DAILY_BRIEFINGSEARCHCONTACT_US


Return to main story


BW/HARRIS POLL: ONLINE INSECURITY

Until now, it seemed nothing could slow the Internet's explosive growth. But 
sneaky peepers might do it. Worries about protecting personal information on 
the Net ranked as the top reason people are staying off the Web--above cost, 
ease of use, and annoying marketing messages. Even when Web site operators do 
post privacy policies, people are still wary: 33% don't trust the policies at 
all; 58 are only a little more at ease. Here are the complete results, 
available only online, for the Business Week/Harris Poll that appears in the 
March 16, 1998, issue of BW.


Have you personally ever been the victim of what you felt was an improper 
invasion of privacy, online or elsewhere?

Have been victim                     25%
Have not been victim                 75


If you don't go online, would you be more likely to start using the 
Internet, or not if...
                                          Yes     No   Don't Know

The cost was reduced                       51%     44%     5%

The use became less complicated            53      43      4

You had more control over businesses       39      56      5
 sending marketing messages that you
 didn't want
 
The privacy of your personal information   61      36      3 
 and communications would be protected


If you go online, would you be more likely to use the Internet more, or not 
if...?

                                          Yes     No   Don't Know
The cost was reduced                      67%     31%     2%

The use became less complicated           64      35      1

You had more control over businesses      58      39      3
 sending marketing messages that you
 didn't want
 
The privacy of your personal information  78      21      1
 and communications would be protected


When you communicate or send a message via the media below, how concerned 
are you that the content of what you're communicating will be read or overheard 
by some other person or organization without your knowledge or consent? 

                                            Not     Not     Don't
                            Very  Somewhat  Very    At All  Know
By telephone                19%     30%      25%     26%     0%

Using U.S. Mail             15      15       28      42      0

By fax                      19      29       26      23      3

By E-mail through the       27      31       22      19      1 
 Internet        


If you use a computer but don't go on-line, how concerned would you be that 
the content of what you would communicate by electronic mail through the 
Internet would be read by some other person or organization without your 
knowledge or consent? 

Very concerned          68%
Somewhat concerned      21
Not very concerned       4
Not at all concerned     7


For each of the following transactions, how concerned are you about the 
security of your personal financial information?

                                             Not     Not    Don't
                             Very  Somewhat  Very   At All  Know
Paying a restaurant bill by   28%    25%      21%     21%     3%
 credit card
 
Giving your credit-card       56     24        7       8      4
 number to a catalog phone-
 service representative
 
Buying a product online       65     15        4       9       7
 with your credit card
 
Sending a check as payment    21     24       28      27       0
 through the U.S. mail
 
Conducting personal banking   59     18        7       9       6
  transactions on line


If you go online, have you ever used the Internet, World Wide Web, or 
On-line service to purchase anything?

Have purchased               22%
Have not purchased           78


If you go online, how willing are you to share personal and financial 
information about yourself so that online ads can be targeted to your tastes 
and interests?

Very willing                  3%
Somewhat willing             13
Not very willing             22
Not willing at all           62


If you have bought online, when you use the Internet to purchase products 
and services how concerned are you about each of these possibilities?

                                              Not     Not   Don't
                            Very  Somewhat   Very   At All  Know
The company you buy from     31%    34%       31%      4%    0%
 uses personal information
 you provide to send you 
 unwanted information 
    
The company or one of its    56      25        12       7     0
 employees uses your credit-
 card information to make
 purchases without your consent
 
In the course of the         56      28        11       3     1 
 transaction, your credit-card
 information is made accessible 
 to others who might use it
 without your consent


If you haven't bought online, if you were to use the Internet to purchase 
products and services how concerned would you be about each of these 
possibilities? 

                                              Not     Not   Don't
                              Very  Somewhat  Very   At All  Know
                              
The company you buy from uses  52%      34%    11%      3%     0%
 personal information you
 provide to send you unwanted
 information
 
The company or one of its      80      12       6       2      0 
 employees uses your credit-
 card information to make
 purchases without your consent
 
In the course of the           86      10       2       1      0
 transaction, your credit-card
 information is made accessible
 to others who might use it 
  without your consent  


Some companies request that visitors to their Web sites "register" by 
providing personal information. If you go online and you are asked to, do you 
register?

Always            1%
Most of the time  6
Sometimes        33
Never            59
Don't know        1


Some companies write and post privacy policies on their Web sites. If you go 
online, to what extent would a policy that explicitly guarantees the security 
of your personal information encourage you to...

                                                           Not
                                         A lot  A little  At All

Use the Internet more in general          18%     44%      38% 

Register on that Web site, providing      12      44       44
 personal information 
 
Purchase products or service from         15      42       43
 that company                 


If a company posts a privacy policy on its Web site, to what extent do you 
trust that company to follow the policy?

Trust completely        9%
Trust somewhat         58
Don't trust at all     33


Here are three ways that the government could approach Internet privacy 
issues. Which ONE of these three do you think would be best at this stage of 
Internet development?

                                                    PC USERS   TOTAL
Government should let groups develop voluntary          21%     19%
 privacy standards, but not take any action now 
 unless real problems arise%
 
Government should recommend privacy standards           25      23
 for the internet, but not pass laws at this time
 
Government should pass laws now for how personal        50      53
 information can be collected and used on the Internet
 
None of the above                                        2       2

Don't know                                               2       3
Survey of 999 adults, including 408 online users, conducted Feb. 18-23, 1998 for Business Week by Louis Harris & Associates Inc. and Alan Westin, publisher of Privacy & American Business.

EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS


Return to main story


SIGNUPABOUTBW_CONTENTSBW_+!DAILY_BRIEFINGSEARCHCONTACT_US


Updated Mar. 5, 1998 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1998, Bloomberg L.P.
Terms of Use