Internet Privacy Concerns Grow, Survey Finds
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
March 13 2012 01:12 PM ET
Where would we be without Google and other search engines? While most Americans use search engines every day — and 83 percent use Google — a growing number of people are uncomfortable with the idea that their activities are being tracked.
In a survey of 2,253 adults conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 68 percent said they are not OK with targeted advertising because they do not like having their online behavior tracked and analyzed. An even greater number, 73 percent, said they would not be OK with an online search engine keeping track of their queries even for the purpose of providing personalized search results in the future. But for most Internet users, privacy is the price they pay to use free search tools.
The report found that most Internet users didn't know what to do to protect their online privacy. Only 38 percent of Internet users said they knew how to limit information about themselves that is collected by an online company, Pew said.
And no wonder. There is no all-in-one solution, but there are steps you can take to protect your privacy. For instance, you can opt out of personalized ads from Google by visiting your Ad Preferences page when you're signed into your account. You can activate private browsing sessions in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. You can use another browser altogether such as Cocoon when you don't want to be tracked.
By the end of this year, you may see a "Do Not Track" button from Google, part of a national initiative to protect online privacy .