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Poll: Americans worried over personal data on social media sites

By Michael Krebs     Dec 11, 2010 in Internet
According to a new poll from Rasmussen Reports, Americans are using social networking sites broadly - but are concerned about the security of the personal information they share on these sites.
Rasmussen Reports released the results from a new poll on Saturday, looking at the comfort or discomfort that American internet users have with personal information that resides on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Myspace. In the wake of the Wikileaks scandal and the challenges posed by cyber hackers, most Americans surveyed expressed concern about the security of personal information posted to social networking properties.
According to Rasmussen, 50 percent of Americans now use social networking sites - up from 29 percent in January 2009.
"Eighty-six percent (86%) of those who belong to social networking sites say they use them primarily for personal reasons," Rasmussen Reports stated on their web site. "Just 12% rely on them chiefly for business."
However, 82 percent of Americans are at least "somewhat concerned" about the security status of the personal information they have populated on social networking sites.
The issue with technology in general is that it evolves at a pace that is faster than the privacy questions that arise later. Congressional lawmakers are beginning to grapple with the issues presented on internet privacy, looking at the tracking devices regularly employed by web advertising firms and at the entry points where privacy concerns can regularly be protected.
“The laws haven’t really kept pace with the unbelievable developments,” Jessica Rich, deputy director of the trade commission’s bureau on consumer protection, told the New York Times.
The Rasmussen Reports poll found that women were more concerned than men on the issue - and that older adults worried more than younger users.
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