Privacy Bulleted List
- More than half of respondents strongly disagree (54%) that advertising networks should be allowd to compile usage information across different web sites so that ads can be targeted to particular users. Older respondents and experts disagree even more strongly than other groups. Respondents don't seem to like the idea of direct marketing, regardless of the medium (See: Direct Marketing).
Anonymous Payment Systems
- Just over half of respondents agree that they prefer anonymous payment systems (51%), a quarter are neutral (25%). In general, people prefer an anonymous payment system or they have no preference; very few actually prefer a user-identified system. Respondents over age 26 feel more strongly in favor of anonymous payment than other age groups. While more experts have an opinion on the issue than novices, both groups have similar opinions in that most prefer anonymous payment.
Attitudes Towards Spamming
- As with previous surveys, most users simply delete unsolicited email when they receive it (55%); only 9% read it. Overall, 19% say that they have never received unsolicited email, but this percentage declines dramatically with experience (only 5% of experts have not received it). The youngest respondents are most likely to read it (13% of 10-18 year olds) which might be a cause for conern if mass emailings start to target this age group.
- A third of respondents (34%) agree strongly that there should be stronger laws protecting children's privacy than adults' privacy on the internet. Another 19% agree somewhat. Females and older respondents agree even more strongly than other groups. Novices also favor special treatment of children's privacy while experts are almost evenly divided between agreeing (42%) and disagreeing (34%).
Content Providers have Right to Resell User Information
- The idea that content providers have the right to resell user information is one of the most disagreed with statements in the survey: 63% disagree strongly and another 19% disagree somewhat. Females disagree even more strongly than males. Novices disagree more strongly than experts -- 82% of novices disagree compared to 79% of experts.
- Most respondents(65%) don't like receiving postal mail that is sent to them based on their demographics. They dislike online targeted advertising even more (See: Advertising Networks). For both online and offline advertising, older respondents and experts are least in favor of it.
Information about Users Improves Marketing of Site
- Most respondents agree (45% somewhat, 14% strongly) that having demographic information about users helps web sites draw advertisers. Those in the 19-50 age range agree more strongly than older and younger users. Advertising-supported content (which is found in TV and print, for example) is one economic model sites are experimenting with to avoid charging users directly for use of their site.
Internet Privacy Laws
- Most respondents agree strongly (39%) or somewhat (33%) that there should be new lawst o protect privacy on the Internet. Respondents from Europe agree less strongly (somewhat agree: 39%) and more are neutral on the issue (18%). Women agree slightly more strongly than men (strongly agree: 41% female, 37% male). Novices agree most strongly that there should be new laws. Experts generally agree, as well, but more of them disagree than novices. Respondents over age 50 disagree more strongly than other age groups.
Key Escrow Encryption
- Respondents' opinions are quite diverse on the question of key escrow encryption. 40% are in favor of it while 26% are against key escrow. A fairly large percentage have no opinion on the issue (20%). More females than males have no opinion on key escrow. A large percentage of experts disagree with key escrow (43%) and many of them feel strongly about it (disagree strongly: 33%).
Knowledge of Information Logged per Page Request
- The purpose of this question is to gauge respondents knowledge of what happens during a web transaction. In standard web transactions, the time of request, the page requested, the machine's IP address, the type of browser, the operating system, and a session identifier (for major browsers) can be recorded. Email address and screen size cannot be recorded directly in a standard web transaction. A flaw in an older version of Netscape at one time allowed email address to be captured, but it is generally not possible. Java applets have access to the screen size and so that information could be captured and sent back to a server. Geographic location information is not directly available, but can sometimes be inferred from the user's IP address/domain name.
- Only about 80% of users correctly recognized that the time of the request and page they were requesting was being recorded. This is a decline from the lat survey where nearly 90% answered these correctly. In fact for all categories which can be recorded directly, the percentage of users who answered correctly declined by several percentage points. European respondents, who tend to be more experienced than US respondents, had a better knowledge of what is recorded during a web transaction. Males are somewhat more informed about what information can be recorded although the same percentage of males and females think that email address can be recorded (53%). Those in the middle age ranges (19-50) are more informed about the information collected in web transactions than older or younger users. As we might expect, experts are more knowledgeable than novices.
- Not suprisingly, when asked if they liked receiving mass emailings, 64% of users strongly disagreed and another 17% disagreed somewhat. More experts disagreed strongly (76%) than novices (52%), perhaps because they are more likely to have received it.
Ought to be able to Assume Different Aliases/Roles on the Internet
- Most respondents agree (56%) that they should be able to take on different roles or aliases on the internet and 27% agree strongly. Agreement seems to decrease with age; 12% of those over age 50 disagree strongly with the idea.
Policies Towards Spamming
- The largest category of users (42%) favor a registry of people who do not want to receive unsolicited email, so that mass emailers could remove them from their distribution lists. (This is the current arrangement with postal mail direct marketing in the US.) Another solution, especially favored by respondents from Europe, is to create a "blacklist" of known spammers so that mail from them can be filtered out (24% Europe, 14% US). Making it illegal was only favored by 8% of respondents. Experienced users have less faith in a registry than novices, although it is still the most popular choice. Experts are more in favor of government intervention than other groups (12% experts, 5% novices).
Privacy of Communications
- This statement is one that been agreed with very strongly since we began asking questions about privacy. 89% of respondents agree that they should be able to communicate over the Internet without others reading the content and 75% strongly agree. Experts agree even more strongly (93% agree, 81% agree strongly).
Reasons for Not Registering
- For this question, respondents could choose more than one answer. As it has been since we began asking this question, the main reason that respondents do not register with web sites is that they do not provide a clear statement on how the information is going to be used (66%). This is followed closely by it not being worth it to access the site (63%) and not trusting the entity collecting the data (58%). The good news is that all of these percentages have dropped a few percentage points from the last survey which may be related to the fact that many sites have started making privacy policies available to web site users. It remains to be seen however, to determine if this is a consistant trend or a temporary fluctuation. There were slight rises in the percentages of respondents who don't register because they don't want to reveal a particular piece of information: address (46% Eighth, 45% Seventh), name (35% Eighth, 31% Seventh), and email address (27% Eighth, 25% Seventh). Females are more sensitive about giving out their name and addresses than males, but aren't as bothered by the time it takes to fill out the forms. Those in the 26-50 age range are more concerned about having a statement of use while those aged 19-25 are more concerned about the time it takes than other age groups. Novices are more cautious than experts about giving out their name, but experts are more cautious in all other areas.
Terms and Conditions for Revealing Demographic Information
- Since there is a large interest in collecting demographic information from web site users and some resistance on the part of users to give up that information, this question investigates under what conditions users are willing to give up their information. Respondents could choose more than one answer for this question. The ordering of user preferences is the same as for the last survey, although the percentages are a bit lower for each category. The main condition that users place on giving up information is that a statement be provided about how the information was going to be used (70%). That is followed by being informed about what is collected (52%) and that the data be used in aggregate form only (46%). Only 9% report that they wouldn't not give demographic data under any circumstances which is good news for those who want to collect it. About a third of respondents are interested in receiveing some compensation for their information in the form of discounts or value-added services. Females place a slightly higher value on knowing how the information is used before they are willing to give it up. Those over age 26 are more interested in limiting the use of the information to aggregated use (i.e. not identifying individual users). Experts are more agreeable on all terms than novice or intermediate users.
Use of Demographic Information in Other Mediums
- Even though it is very common practice in the US, more than half of respondents (55%) think that magazines should not be able to resell their names and addresses to other companies. This sentiment is even stronger among Europeans, females, and older respondents. Respondents are even less in favor of online content providers reselling their information (See: Content Providers Reselling User Information).
Users Ought to Have Complete Control of Demographic Info
- The issue of control over personal information has always been an important one for web users. 64% of respondents agree strongly that they ought to have complete control over their demographic information. This is consistant with the finding that respondents want to be informed about what information is being collected and what is being done with it; failure to provide this information is the main reason that respondents don't register with web sites (See: Terms and Conditions for Revealing Demographic Information and Reasons for not Registering). Older users feel even more strongly about the issue, as do expert users.
What Information Ought to be Collected per Page Request
- For this question, respondents could choose more than one answer. Across almost all categories, the percentage of users who agreed that an item should be recorded has decreased from the Seventh survey. The majority of respondents agreed that the page requested (Eighth 65%, Seventh 74%) and the time of the request (Eighth 62%, Seventh 71%) should be collected by web sites. 18% of respondents felt that none of these should be recorded (a choice not offered in the last survey). It is somewhat suprising that more people are opposed to automatically collecting this kind of information than are opposed to giving out demographic information (See: Terms and Conditions for Revealing Demographic Information). This may not be related to the nature of the information -- it might be an issue of control over the information and knowing when it's being collected. Males, European respondents, and experts (groups which have a large overlap) are more comfortable with different kinds of information being collected. Those over 50 are least opposed to having their email addresses collected while experts are most opposed to it.
For more information or to submit comments:
send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GVU's WWW Surveying Team
Graphics, Visualization, & Usability Center
College of Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA 30332-0280