Honor Call of Online Trust: Pew Says You Trust Twitter Most

Written by David Michaelis

aNewDomain.net — An honor call of online trust, trumpeted by Pew Research Center, shows that Internet users trust the government and law enforcement more than anyone else on onlinw. The statistics come from a large survey done by Pew Internet this past July. Hackers and advertisers, as opposed to the long-armed government, are the real baddies, those surveyed said.

The report reveals who Internet users are trying to avoid in order to ensure their personal information is kept private. The results of the Pew Privacy report are clear and fascinating. It is amazing how many–19 percent–found trouble with their friends because of an upload or text they initiated.

who users try to avoid

Lack of Understanding

“Most of the research that’s been done so far has depicted people as a little bit unaware or not taking precautions,” said Carnegie Mellon University Professor Sara Kiesler, who co-authored the report. “This study seems to show that people are concerned, and that they have tried to cover their tracks.”

But Kiesler said many of the methods people use to restrict access to their online information — like clearing their browser histories or deleting online posts they made in the past — don’t effectively preserve their privacy.

“When people are putting pictures of themselves out there, if they knew a lot they would know facial recognition software and analyses of their relationships and connections to public records and even DNA traces could identify them when they do that,” Kiesler said.

Why are Americans scared and suspicious of many intruders but not the NSA/CIA/FBI/DEA — in short the law and order team?

According to the report, 28% of American internet users had taken steps to hide specifically from advertisers. Only “hackers and criminals” scared more people, with a third of respondents having done something to safeguard themselves from attack. Despite the past few months’ revelation about snooping by the state, the government and law enforcement agencies concerned people the least.

Internet Theft Stats:

  • 21% of internet users have had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over by someone else without permission.
  • 13% of internet users have experienced trouble in a relationship between them and a family member or a friend because of something the user posted online.
  • 12% of internet users have been stalked or harassed online.
  • 11% of internet users have had important personal information stolen such as their Social Security Number, credit card, or bank account information.

We Know What We Expose

Users know that there is a considerable amount of personal information about them available online. Among the list of items queried, photos were the most commonly reported content posted online — 66% of internet users reported that an image of them was available online. And half (50%) say that their birth date is available.

Somewhat surprisingly, advertisers came in under “Hackers and Criminals” at 28% of who users avoid online. It would seem many people find the intrusiveness of online advertising worthy of duck, dodge and hide tactics.

For advertisers this could pose a problem. Their main audience, young adults, is also the one that most actively seeks out ways to avoid being tracked online. Over a third of people aged between 18 and 29 (whom Pew refers to as “young adults”) try to avoid advertisers, compared to 23% or less for those over age 50. That may well be because younger people also reported having the greatest amount of information about themselves available online

The Honor Roll

The Online Trust Alliance has released a relevant and insightful infographic that includes key information about staying safe online. See why Twitter made the Honor Roll and what privacy methods are on the rise.

Staying Safe Online Infographic

With all this in the light, is the government really your best friend at the end of the day?

For aNewDomain, I’m David Michaelis.

Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At aNewDomain.net, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him atDavidMc@aNewDomain.net.