Do you worry about your personal information or internet viruses when logging onto Facebook or Google? According to a poll from Gallup and USA Today, the majority of Americans would respond yes.
Almost 70 percent of Facebook users and 52 percent of Google users are somewhat or very concerned about the privacy while using both services. About 65 percent of Facebook users and 54 percent of Google users are worried about viruses.
Gallup/USA Today did not break out the difference between the "somewhat" and "very concerned" crowd or reveal how many people they polled. Presumably, (hopefully?) the average person is at least somewhat concerned about their online privacy, though you're always going to have that person who clicks on suspicious links or leaves their Facebook profile unlocked with phone number, address, and personal photos exposed to anyone with an Internet connection.
The poll results come as various browser companies and government agencies have been discussing a "do not track" option, which would allow Web users to opt out of having their activity tracked for advertising and other purposes.
In a statement, Consumer Watchdog said the Gallup/USA Today poll underscores the need for "do not track" legislation. The group pointed to a poll it conducted last summer that found that 90 percent of the 1,000 people it polled wanted legislation to protect their online privacy, while another 80 percent supported "do not track." Another 86 percent wanted a single button that would enable anonymous Web browsing.
The major browsers currently offer "private" browsing options, though agencies like the Federal Trade Commission have pushed for less complicated options. As a result, Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft have all announced varying "do not track" features for their respective browsers.
On Friday, Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, will join forces with Consumer Watchdog and a variety of other consumer groups to introduce a package of privacy bills aimed at protecting online privacy. The Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2011 "would give consumers the ability to prevent the collection and use of data on their online activities," while the Financial Information Privacy Act of 2011 would give consumers control of their own financial information, Speier said in a statement.