Consumer Reports Survey Confirms That We're Worried About Online Privacy

What with credit card companies being hacked, apps on smartphones that have you sign your life away before using them and new policies from social networks and search engines, there are a lot of reasons for consumers to be uncomfortable about the state of online privacy. That’s exactly what a national survey by our smarter elder siblings at Consumer Reports found — most of us are pretty darned concerned.

According to a Consumer Reports press release, the national survey found that 71% of respondents said they were very concerned about companies selling or sharing their information about them without their permission. Another 65% of smartphone owners don’t like that apps can access their contacts, photos, locations and other data without permission from them.

Other big concerns on the minds of the more than half of respondents: Advertisers going after kids with personalized ads based on their web-surfing data; companies keeping data even when it’s not needed anymore and lastly, data about online activities and purchases being used to deny employment or affect their ability to get a loan.

Consumers Union, the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, submitted the survey results to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) after they asked for public comment on a proposal to develop voluntary codes of conduct for consumer data privacy.

Ioana Rusu, Regulatory Counsel for Consumers Union, said, “This survey confirms that most Americans are very concerned about their online privacy. A lot of people are seriously worried about how their personal information is being exploited. Your personal data ought to be treated with respect, and you ought to have more of a say in how it’s used.”

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