|BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : MARCH 20, 2000 ISSUE|
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 53SECURITY 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 1STRONG 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 81ONLINE 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 3NONBUYERS 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 1MORE 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 1DON'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 5NAMES 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 1A 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?
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 4A 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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BACK TO TOP
It's Time for Rules in Wonderland
COVER IMAGE: Privacy on the Net
CHART: A Rising Tide of Concern...
CHART: ...Could Be Allayed by Guarantees
TABLE: The Language of Online Privacy
Our Four-Point Plan
TABLE: How to Draw the Line
GRAPHIC: Danger! Danger!
ONLINE ORIGINAL TABLE: What You Can Do
TABLE: Business Week/Harris Poll: A Growing Threat (extended)
ONLINE ORIGINAL: Acxiom: Online Marketing Info, a Conscience--and a Hot Stock
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