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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Esmeralda Swartz, Andy Jonak, Carmen Gonzalez

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Three Times As Many Consumers Concerned About Companies Sharing Data Than Government Surveillance Programmes

Online trust falls to lowest point in three years with only 55 percent of British internet users saying they trust most companies with their personal data

LONDON, Jan. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The latest edition of the annual TRUSTe Consumer Confidence Index shows that consumer online privacy concerns are growing with six in ten internet users (60 percent) more concerned about their privacy online than they were one year ago. Online trust continues to fall and the business impact is significant with 55 percent trusting most companies with their personal information online and 89 percent avoiding companies they do not believe protect their privacy.

Despite media headlines about government surveillance programmes such as NSA's PRISM, of the British internet users whose concerns have increased, there are three times as many concerned about companies sharing their personal information with other companies (60 percent) than governments' monitoring activity (20 percent).

The TRUSTe 2014 GB Consumer Confidence Privacy Research, was conducted online by Ipsos MORI, with 2,011 British internet users from the 13-18 December, 2013. The research was released to coincide with Data Privacy Day #DPD14, and will be presented during the first 2014 Powering Trust Speaker Series event at The Hospital Club in London today. Comparable research was also conducted in the US.

Ken Parnham European Managing Director, TRUSTe commented:

"After a barrage of media headlines about government surveillance programmes such as NSA's PRISM, it is perhaps unsurprising that consumer online trust has fallen to its lowest point yet, with only 55 percent of internet users prepared to trust companies with personal data online. It is a wake-up call for businesses that commercial data collection and sharing, rather than government activity, is the main driver of increased online privacy concerns.

Ken added, "Lack of trust can starve businesses of valuable data and sales, restricting the lifeblood of the digital economy as people are less likely to click on ads, use apps or enable location tracking on their smartphones. These findings show that success is no longer just about innovation, companies need to take decisive action to address online privacy concerns to stay ahead of the competition, minimise risk and build online trust."

Detailed findings from 2014 GB Consumer Confidence Privacy Research:

Overall, the research found that consumer online privacy concerns remain extremely high with 89 percent of British internet users worrying to some extent about their privacy online in general when using the internet compared with 88 percent in January 2013. 34 percent said they were frequently or always concerned and 60 percent agreed they were more concerned than one year ago.

When those more concerned about their privacy online were asked what had contributed most to this feeling, 60 percent said companies sharing their personal information with other companies, while 54 percent were concerned about companies tracking their online behaviour to target them with ads and content. In comparison, only 20 percent listed media coverage of government surveillance programmes as a reason for their increased concern.

Consumer trust continues to fall. Just over half of British internet users (55 percent) agreed that they trust most companies with their personal information online. This is down from 57 percent in 2013 and down significantly from just two years ago when 63 percent of British internet users trusted most companies. Furthermore, 89 percent say they avoid companies they do not believe protect their privacy.

Concern about online privacy can have a negative impact on business. Increased privacy concerns mean:

  • 91 percent are less likely to click on online advertisements
  • 78 percent avoid using smartphone apps that they believe do not protect their privacy
  • 64 percent are less likely to enable location tracking on their smartphone

In addition to these actions, 78 percent are more likely to check websites and apps for a privacy certification or seal.

The 2014 Powering Trust Speaker Series event at The Hospital Club in London is just one of a number of events in which TRUSTe is participating, speaking or organising in support of Data Privacy Day 2014 #DPD14. Data Privacy Day is an international day of awareness designed to educate people on privacy issues and how to safeguard personal information. TRUSTe has been named as a Data Privacy Day Champion by the National Cyber Security Alliance.

Notes to Editors

1          TRUSTe is the leading global Data Privacy Management (DPM) company and powers trust in the data economy by enabling businesses to safely collect and use customer data across web, mobile, cloud and advertising channels. Our cloud-based Data Privacy Management Platform delivers innovative technology products, including website monitoring and advertising compliance controls – along with privacy assessments and certifications. More than 5,000 companies worldwide, including Apple, Disney, eBay, Forbes, LinkedIn and Oracle rely on our DPM platform and globally recognised Certified Privacy Seal to protect/enhance their brand, drive user engagement and minimise compliance risk. For more information, please http://www.truste.co.uk .

2          The 2014 GB Consumer Confidence Privacy Index research was conducted online by Ipsos MORI on behalf of TRUSTe among a total of 2,011 adults aged 16-75 in Great Britain from 13 – 18 December 2013 via its Online iOmnibus Survey. The survey data were weighted by age, gender, region, social grade, working status and education to the known profile of the British population aged 16-75. Of the 2,011 respondents interviewed, 1,189 were more concerned about their online privacy than they were one year ago.

3          The 2014 US Consumer Confidence Privacy Index research was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of TRUSTe among a total of 2,019 adults in the US aged 18-55+ from December 11 – 13, 2013.

4          Now in its seventh year, Data Privacy Day commemorates the signing in 1981 of the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection and is an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe that takes place on 28 January each year. For information about Data Privacy Day 2014 and details of events see: http://www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/

5          For TRUSTe EU media enquiries contact Eleanor Treharne-Jones on +44 (0) 7811 093648 or e-mail [email protected]

SOURCE TRUSTe

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