Future of Privacy Forum “

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Future of Privacy Forum “Icon”Survey:Online Behavioral Advertising & Privacy Final Results

Prepared by

Mary J. Culnan

Bentley University



Five questions to measure:

Participation in 13 online activities

Attitudes toward comfort with OBA (with and without FIP’s – transparency & choice)

Experience with 8 privacy-protective behaviors

Attitudes toward privacy (9 items)

Assess how attitudes vary based on subjects’ online experience

Sample size = 2,604


Internet Activities

Sample item:

Have you ever used search engines to find information?

Approximately half (or more) of sample had participated in 12 of 13 activities

Average = participation in 9 activities

2% had not participated in any activities

56% spent at least 15 hours online/week


Comfort with OBA

Sample item:

How comfortable are you with information about the websites you visit across the Internet being used to decide what ads you see?

Comfort (no FIP)

23% are comfortable or very comfortable

Comfort (transparency & choice)

40% are comfortable or very comfortable

Computed difference between two items:

37% became more comfortable

Of 56% who remained unchanged after FIP

38% remain uncomfortable

33% remain neutral

29% remain comfortable


Privacy Protective Activities

Sample Item:

Have you ever set your browser to reject cookies?

Approximately 40% (or more) of sample had engaged in 7 of 8 activities

Average participation was 4 activities

8% had never done any of these


Privacy Concerns

Sample item

I’m concerned that websites are collecting too much personal information about me

5-point scale (1=strongly disagree – 5= strongly agree)

Average for scale = 3.88 (agree)


Key Findings

Approximately 30% of people are neutral about OBA (with or without FIPS)

Without FIPS, 23% are comfortable with OBA

With FIPS (transparency & control), 40% of people are comfortable with OBA

FIPS increase comfort with OBA for people who

Are most active online

Engage in more privacy-protective behaviors (e.g. opting out)


What We Don’t Know

How well people understand OBA

Major implications for consumer education

If (

or when)

people will opt out of OBA if given the opportunity

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