According to a Harris Interactive study... "a majority of U.S. adults are skeptical about the practice of websites using information about a person’s online activity to customize website content. However, after being introduced to four potential recommendations for improving websites privacy and security polices, U.S. adults become somewhat more comfortable with the websites use of personal information.
- A six in ten majority (59%) are not comfortable when websites like Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft (MSN) use information about a person’s online activity to tailor advertisements or content based on a person’s hobbies or interests. A quarter (25%) is not at all comfortable and 34 percent are not very comfortable;
- The remaining 41 percent who say that are comfortable with websites tailoring content is split between 7 percent who are very comfortable and 34 percent who are somewhat comfortable."
So should website's be open about their privacy settings?
After four privacy/security policies were introduced, U.S. adults did change their opinions:
- By 55 to 45 percent, a majority of U.S. adults indicates that they would be more comfortable with companies using information about a person’s online activities to provide customized advertising or content;
- Interestingly, once the privacy/security policies were presented the percentages of those who are very comfortable increases only very slightly to 9 percent from 7 percent. The percentage who are somewhat comfortable given the privacy/security policies increases more significantly to 46 percent from 34 percent;
- Similarly, those who are not at all comfortable decline to 19 percent from 25 percent, and those who are not very comfortable decline to 26 percent from 34 percent."
Extremely interesting study.