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CANADIAN INTERNET USERS FIND PRIVACY BREACHED ON-LINE

Source: Globe and Mail

Posted on March 2, 2001

      About one in seven Canadian Internet users report that their privacy was breached on-line, a survey has found. The findings come as companies doing business on the Web struggle to gain consumer trust, the biggest challenge in e-commerce.

      Ipsos-Reid Corp. and Columbus Group found nearly 15 per cent of Canadian Internet users they polled said personal information they had supplied to Web sites had been misused.

      Close to one in nine of the Internet users whose privacy was breached said they were signed up for unwanted e-mail marketing, and 40 per cent said their data were sold or transferred to another Web concern.

      Ipsos-Reid's Chris Ferneyhough in Toronto said the findings show why companies operating on the Web have to redouble efforts to instill confidence in Internet commerce.

      "It doesn't matter how engaging the Web site is ... If they are afraid to make an on-line purchase ... then they are simply not going to do it," said Mr. Ferneyhough, vice-president of technology research.

      Despite privacy concerns, the study found that more than 80 per cent of Canadian Internet users have, at least once, shared personal identification information on-line.

      "People are willing to share information but it definitely is a competitive advantage if you can get people to trust your organization," Mr. Ferneyhough said.

      Internet users said they were far more likely to share information if they were well acquainted with the Web site operator and if the site clearly explained its policy about handling personal information, the survey found.

      The survey polled 1,000 Canadian Web users on-line.




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