Pew: Americans trust advertisers just slightly more than they do hackers and criminals

If a new report from Pew is any indication, marketers still have a long way to go when it comes to allaying consumers' privacy concerns. When asked about which groups they'd like to avoid online, respondents to Pew's survey ranked advertisers (28 percent) second only to hackers and criminals (33 percent).

"Users clearly want the option of being anonymous online and increasingly worry that this is not possible," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center's Internet Project and an author of a report on the survey findings, in a statement. "Their concerns apply to an entire ecosystem of surveillance. In fact, they are more intent on trying to mask their personal information from hackers, advertisers, friends and family members than they are trying to avoid observation by the government."

People are so concerned about surveillance 68 percent said that current laws weren't sufficient to safeguard users' online privacy; only 24 percent said laws provide reasonable security. In fact, Americans are in such agreement that laws don't offer enough protection that it unites people across the political spectrum.

"Tea Party supporters, conservative Republicans, self-described moderates, and liberal Democrats are not statistically significantly different in their answers," the report said.

The majority of people are so alarmed about spying that they go to great lengths to conceal information that advertisers want to collect. Eighty-six percent have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints "ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email, from avoiding using their name to using virtual networks that mask their internet protocol (IP) address," the report said.

While personal info like photos (66 percent) and birth dates (50 percent) topped the list for behavioral data that users wanted to protect, B2B marketers should note that 44 percent said they don't want to reveal their employer. Americans also want control over behavioral data that advertisers crave like the content of emails (81 percent), websites browsed (69 percent) and searches performed (69 percent).

Pew's report, "Anonymity, Privacy, and Security Online," was conducted in July and based on telephone interviews with 1,002 adults in the U.S.

For more:
-See this Pew report

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