BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : MARCH 20, 2000 ISSUE
COVER STORY

Business Week/Harris Poll: A Growing Threat


Concern is rising over privacy on the Net, with a clear majority -- 57% -- now favoring some sort of laws regulating how personal information is collected and used. Regulation may become essential to continued growth in e-commerce, since 41% of online shoppers say they are very concerned over the use of personal information, up from 31% two years ago. Perhaps more telling, among people who go online but have not shopped there, 63% are very concerned. Note: This is a longer, online-only version of the poll that appears in the Mar. 20 issue.

MORE INVASIONS OF PRIVACY
Have you personally ever been the victim of what you felt was an improper invasion of privacy, or not?
                              Mar.      Feb.
                              2000      1998      1995
Have been victim              27%       25%       25%
Have not been victim          70        75        74
Don't know                    2         *         *
COMPUTER USE KEEPS RISING...
Do you personally use a computer at home?
                Use    Do not use
March 2000      49%       51%
Feb. 1999       42        58
Feb. 1998       37        63
Sept. 1997      35        65

...AND SO DO TRIPS TO CYBERSPACE
If you use a computer at home, do you use it to access the Internet?
                Use    Do not use
March 2000      81%       19%
Feb. 1999       70        30
Feb. 1998       60        39
Sept. 1997      47        53

SECURITY CONCERNS ARE HIGHEST FOR E-MAIL
If you go online from home, work, or another location, how concerend are you that the content of various forms of communication will be read or overheard by some other person or organization without your knowledge or consent?
                                           Some-  Not     Not     Don't
                                    Very   what   Very   At All   Know
By telephone        Mar. 2000        19     30     31      20
                    Feb. 1998        19     30     25      26       -

Using U.S. Mail     Mar. 2000        12     17     34      36       -
                    Feb. 1998        15     15     28      43       -

By fax              Mar. 2000        15     29     28      24       3
                    Feb. 1998        19     29     26      23       3

By E-mail through
the Internet        Mar. 2000        28     33     24      13
                    Feb. 1998        27     31     22      19       1

STRONG INTERNET SHOPPING GROWTH
If you go online from home, work, or another location, have you ever used the Internet, the Web, or online service to purchase anything?
                         Mar.      Feb.      Feb.      Sept.
                         2000      1999      1998      1997

Have purchased           45        31        22        19
Have not purchased       55        69        77        81

ONLINE BUYERS DREAD JUNK MAIL
If you have made online purchases, how concerned are you about each of these possibilities?
                                             Not       Not
                        Very     Somewhat   Very      At All
The company you buy from uses personal information you provide to send you 
unwanted information
Mar. 2000                41        37        16        6
Feb. 1998                31        34        31        4

The company or one of its employees uses your credit-card information to make 
purchases without your consent
Mar. 2000                39        31        22        7
Feb. 1998                56        25        12        7

In the course of the transaction, your credit-card information is made 
accessible to others who might use it without your consent
Mar. 2000                42        34        17        6
Feb. 1998                56        28        11        3

NONBUYERS WORRY ABOUT PRIVACY AND FRAUD
If you go online but have not purchased anything, how concerned would you be about each of these possibilities would you be if you were to buy anything?
                                             Not       Not
                        Very     Somewhat   Very      At All
The company you buy from uses personal information you provide to send you 
unwanted information
Mar. 2000                63        31        4         2
Feb. 1998                52        34        11        3

The company or one of its employees uses your credit-card information to make 
purchases without your consent
Mar. 2000                71        18        7         4
Feb.1998                 80        12        6         2

In the course of the transaction, your credit-card information is made 
accessible to others who might use it without your consent
Mar. 2000                76        20        3         *
Feb.1998                 86        10        2         1

MORE SURFERS ARE REGISTERING AT SITES
Some companies request that visitors to their Web sites "register" by providing personal information. If you go online and are asked to register, how often do you?
                         Mar.      Feb.
                        2000      1998
Always                    1         1
Most of the time          6         6
Sometimes                46        33
Never                    46        59
Don't know                1         1

DON'T EAT THIS "COOKIE"
If you use a computer, have you ever heard of an online technology known as "cookies"?
Yes      40
No       60

If you have heard of cookies, which of the following best describes your 
understanding of what they are?
Files downloaded onto your computer that track your online habits     75
A hacker who breaks the security of private computer systems           5
The telephone number used to dial into an online service               4
The place where e-mail is stored indefinitely                          3
Don't know                                                            12

If you have heard of cookies, how often do you set your computer to reject them?
Always                   21
Sometimes                21
Rarely                   10
Never                    43
Don't know                5

NAMES SHOULDN'T BE CONNECTED WITH DATA
Some Web sites track personal information to match users with products and services that meet their needs. Other Web sites profit by sharing or selling user information to other organizations. If you use the Internet, how comfortable would you be if a Web site did the following?
                                                Not
    Very        Somewhat       Not Very        At All       Not
 Comfortable   Comfortable    Comfortable    Comfortable    Sure

Tracked your movements when you browsed the site, but didn't tie that 
information to your name or real-world identity
    9             28             28             35             *

Merged your browsing habits and shopping patterns into a profile that was 
linked to your real name and identity
    3             7              21             68             1

Created a profile of you that included your real name and identity as well as 
additional personal information such as your income, driver's license, credit 
data, and medical status
    3             2              13             82             0

How comfortable would you be if a Web site did the following?

                                                Not
    Very        Somewhat       Not Very        At All       Not
 Comfortable   Comfortable    Comfortable    Comfortable    Sure
Shared your information with other organizations
    1             6              25             67             *

Sold your information to other organizations
    1             5              19             74             *

Shared information so you could be tracked on multiple Web sites
    1             7              24             67             0-

MORE PRIVACY NOTICES, PLEASE
If you go online, when you visit Web sites, have you ever seen a privacy notice or other explanation of how personal information collected by that site will be used?
Yes            55
No             43
Don't know      2

If you have seen a privacy notice, how often do you read the information 
contained in the privacy notice?
Always         35
Sometimes      42
Rarely         18
Never           4

If you have seen a privacy notice, how important is it that the site you are 
visiting displays a notice and explains how your personal information will be 
used?
Absolutely essential          35
Very important                40
Somewhat important            21
Not very important             2
Not at all important           1

A PRIVACY GUARANTEE WOULD HELP
If you go online, to what extent would a policy that explicitly guarantees the security of your personal information encourage you to do the following?
                                            Not           Don't
             A lot          A little       At All         Know

Use the Internet more in general
Mar. 2000      40             40             19             1
Feb. 1998      18             44             38             *

Register on that Web site, providing personal information
Mar. 2000      30             39             31             1
Feb. 1998      12             44             44             *

Purchase products or service from that company
Mar. 2000      37             36             26             1
Feb. 1998      15             42             43             -

If a company posts a privacy policy on its Web site, to what extent do you 
trust that company to follow the policy?
                              Mar.           Feb.
                             2000           1998
Trust completely              10              9
Trust somewhat                66             58
Don't trust at all            24             33

GIVEN A CHOICE, MOST WOULD "OPT OUT"...
If privacy notices allowed you to "opt out," letting you choose not to have your personal information collected by a particular Web site, how often would you "opt out"?
Always         56
Sometimes      34
Rarely          4
Never           6
...AND EVEN MORE WOULD LIKE AN "OPT IN" POLICY
In the future, consumers may be given more control over how their personal information is collected by Web sites -- you may be given the chance to "opt in" to data collection. How often would you like a Web site to ask your permission before doing the following?
                                      All the   Occasion-   Only the          
Don't
                                       Time       ally     First Time  Never  
Know
Name, address, phone number             86         3           5         6     *
E-mail address                          79         7           8         6     *
Browsing habits or shopping patterns    77         8           8         7     *
Demographic information
(i.e. age, gender, race)                69        11          11         7     1
Medical information                     85         3           4         8     *
Financial information                   86         2           4         8     1

Similarly, how often would you like a Web site to ask your permission before it 
shares your personal information with others?
All the time                                      88
Occasionally                                       2
Only the first time you log on to the site         5
Never                                              4

A MAJORITY OF ALL PEOPLE POLLED FAVOR NEW LAWS
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?
                                                   Mar.      Feb.
                                                   2000      1998
The government should let groups develop voluntary privacy standards, but not 
take any action now unless real problems arise
                                                    15        19
The government should recommend privacy standrds for the Internet, but not pass 
laws at this time
                                                    21        23
The government should pass laws now for how personal information can be 
collected and used on the Internet
                                                    57        53
None of the above                                    1         2-
More than one of the above                           *         0
Don't know                                           5         3-
Refused                                              1         *

Telephone survey of 1,014 adults between Mar. 2 and Mar. 6 by Harris Interactive. Except where noted, don't know and refused not included.

*Less than 0.5%


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