posted Aug 21, 2000

Consumers' Views Split on Internet Privacy Privacy from Companies8/21/2000; 8:47:09 AM 'In the continuing battle between Internet companies that want to use customers' personal information to deliver tailored advertisements and services and privacy advocates who want stricter controls over how this information is used, consumers themselves appear to be of two minds. 'At least that is the finding of a survey whose results were released last night by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, a nonprofit group. While many consumers surveyed expressed concern about their privacy, many also said they were willing to share personal information with the Web sites they used.'The Pew Research Center for People and the Press is online, but I don't see this report yet. As the most recent report on the site dates from April, one can guess that that either they put stuff up on the web in a delayed fashion, or they have stopped updating the site.I want to know more. I think the percentages for the answers would very strongly depend on the wording of the questions.

  1. Do you feel it is acceptable to give an online merchant personal information?
  2. Do you feel it is acceptable to give an online merchant personal information, as long as they can't share it with others without your permission?
  3. Do you feel that the current policy of most internet merchants, which is that your personal data is theirs to do with as they please, and that they can and do sell it to anybody, is acceptable?
I'll bet they asked something like question 1. Without more data in the question (which would of course bias the answers, depending on how you gave it), it sounds fine. How are the retailers supposed to ship my package without my address? But the other two questions would have been much more informative... the first question has no meaning.Sure, in theory, I have no problem giving personal information to selected sites. But I do not like the current way of doing business, so I avoid it as much as possible.


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