With the NSA leaks making headlines, consumer awareness is at an all-time high when it comes to internet privacy and digital security. In our most recent Lab42 study and infographic, we found that although consumers are nearly split on the debate between internet privacy and security, a slight majority (54%) said they would rather have more online privacy at the risk of security. Still, over half (52%) feel privacy is a thing of the past, and as a result, consumers are taking steps to protect themselves digitally.

PayPal was the number one way consumers prefer to buy online, with nearly a third (32%) citing it as their most preferred payment option. In an effort to protect themselves further, 37 percent never save their credit card information on any website.

Generational differences were also apparent. For example, Millennials are more likely than any other generation to turn off location settings, and over half of Millennials (56%) have a password or pin to access their smartphone, compared to just 36 percent of those ages 35 and above. Consumers overall use a variety of passwords to protect themselves online—half of respondents use five or more passwords—but over half (54%) don’t keep track of their passwords anywhere except by memory.

We also explored consumers’ perceptions of targeted online advertising (i.e. advertisers showing ads more likely to suit viewers’ interests based on their previous online activity). Specifically, we asked “how do you feel about targeted advertising?” and the breakdown below highlights their opinions of targeted ads:

  • 47% – “The ads catch my eye, but I don’t pay attention”
  • 20% – “I’m uneasy about these types of ads”
  • 17% – “I don’t mind”
  • 16% – “It catches my eye, and I’m more likely to click on an ad”

Despite the fact that most aren’t bothered by targeted advertising, 61 percent have still used an ad blocking service, with AdBlock being the most popular choice.

One of the biggest takeaways from our recent study is that there’s room for improvement when it comes to consumers protecting their privacy online. Nearly one in three (29%) said they aren’t sure if third-party cookies are able to track them, and 29 percent rarely or never read terms and conditions on websites. Nearly one in five (19%) don’t do anything to mask their digital identity.

The survey was conducted among 500 American adults, ages 18 and up, from October 3-7, 2013, in the United States.

For more insights, check out our infographic below (click to expand).

Lab42-Infographic-Digital-Privacy (1)

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