Cyber Security Today – Survey shows how worried Americans are about online privacy

A new survey shows how worried Americans are about online privacy.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Wednesday August 5th. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cybersecurity for

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Online privacy is still a big concern of Americans despite — or because of — their increasing use of the internet, according to a recent study.

The study by the Ponemon Institute for a security company called ID Experts questioned 652 consumers. Some of the results should be carefully considered by a lot of companies. For example, half of the respondents felt they don’t have control over how their personal data will be used by organizations. Another 24 per cent said they rarely feel they have control over their personal information. That’s a combined 74 per cent that aren’t happy.

Still, only 19 per cent of respondents said they consciously try to limit the amount of personal data they provide to all online services. Another 27 per cent said they try to limit the amount of personal data they give out to online services.

Social media providers like Facebook, Twitter and others are trusted the least among respondents, followed by shopping websites and healthcare and medical sites.

Seventy per cent of respondents agreed online sites should require consumers to explicitly opt-in to using or sharing personal data. Forty-four per cent agreed online sites should be required to provide the data they have about you if requested.

Majorities believed they should have more control over the online ads they get. Seventy-three per cent agreed or strongly agreed that advertisers should allow consumers to opt-out of receiving ads at any time. Sixty-eight per cent agreed advertisers should not be able to serve ads based on their conversations and online messaging. Sixty-four per cent said advertisers shouldn’t be allowed to build a profile about consumers for targeted ads unless they get permission.

To protect privacy the report’s authors said consumers should create unique passwords for every new online account they have. If possible, try not to use the same email address for all online platforms. Check if there are privacy settings when setting up an account. If there are, customize those settings so only personal information you want is captured.

Finally, think particularly about what details you give out about yourself through social media sites. And think twice before giving a site permission to sell your data to online service providers.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories can be found in the text version of each podcast at That’s where you’ll also find my news stories aimed at businesses and cybersecurity professionals. Cyber Security Today can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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