A surprising 45 percent of Americans say that online privacy is more important to them than national security, according to the latest edition of the annual TRUSTe Consumer Confidence Index.
Survey respondents admitted their top cause of concern when it comes to online security is companies sharing their personal data with other companies (38 percent). This concern was emphasized ahead of online security threats, such as the Heartbleed bug (36 percent) and government surveillance programs (28 percent).
An astounding 92 percent of Americans said they worry about their privacy when using the internet. What's more, 42 percent of respondents said they are more concerned when using the internet now than they were just a year ago.
Seventy-seven percent of respondents admitted that they modified their online behavior within the past year because of increased privacy concerns. In fact, 92 percent of respondents said they avoided certain companies because they believed their privacy wasn't protected.
However, there's some good news for companies in the business of collecting personal data online. An estimated 37 percent of survey respondents said that if companies were more transparent about what data they were collecting and what the information would be used for, that would help put them at ease.
Most individuals agreed that the responsibility for protecting their privacy and personal data online rests mainly on their own shoulders. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they believe they are primarily responsible for protecting their privacy online.
The overwhelming majority of respondents, 86 percent, have taken proactive measures to protect their privacy online within the past year. About 63 percent of respondents have deleted cookies on their computers, 44 percent modified their privacy settings and 25 percent have turned off location tracking. In addition, 23 percent have read privacy policies for sites they visit and 10 percent opted out of behavioral ads.
But almost half of respondents, 49 percent, believe they don't dedicate as much time as they should to taking control of their privacy online.
If you'd like more privacy when it comes to your life online, LifeLock offers a free new service, LifeLock Privacy Monitor™ Beta, which empowers consumers to take back some control over their personal information.
LifeLock Privacy Monitor™ Beta allows people to find and remove or suppress their personally identifiable information, such as name, address, age and known relatives, from selected common people-search websites and data aggregators. Removing personal information from these databases can help consumers regain some privacy and make it harder for others to access this personal information or sell it for marketing purposes.