Study finds many don't trust privacy on Web

Study finds many don't trust privacy on Web

Heightened media and government attention regarding online privacy issues may be creating more fear than calm among consumers, the majority of whom said in a recent survey, adding that a prominently displayed privacy policy on a Web site isn't likely to earn their trust.

Analyst Jupiter Communications found that 64 per cent of online consumers say they are unlikely to trust a Web site, even with a privacy policy in place. That finding seems to call into question the effectiveness of government and industry efforts to alleviate consumer concerns by prominently posting privacy policies online.

Part of the problem, Jupiter suggests, is that consumers confuse privacy and security. Keeping credit card information secure is the top consumer concern when it comes to e-commerce, but online users apparently tend to lump that issue with privacy, Jupiter said.

Rather than allowing media reports and government regulators to shape the dialogue over privacy issues, Web sites need to be proactive in educating consumers and tackling their fears, according to an executive summary posted at the market researcher's Web site at

"As media and government scrutiny increase, in turn fueling consumer fears, the privacy issue could quickly turn into the privacy problem," which could affect online advertising and digital commerce revenue, the report said.

"Although the majority of sites now post a privacy policy, consumer fears regarding privacy are proving to be complex and therefore not easily assuaged, as indicated by the fact that currently little consumer consensus exists with regard to specific online privacy concerns," the summary added.

Jupiter asked survey respondents to identify the top two factors that would lead to better trust of Web sites when it comes to privacy and 37 per cent said that they "simply did not trust Web sites with their privacy." Posted privacy policies do allay worries of 36 per cent of those surveyed.

Government regulation clearly isn't the answer. Just 14 per cent said that they would be more likely to trust a Web site when it comes to privacy if the site were subject to government regulation. Even less credible in terms of privacy are sites recommended by family and friends. Only 9 per cent of the 2015 online consumers surveyed said that such a recommendation would contribute to their trusting a site to not violate their privacy.

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