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90% of AU net users want 'do not track'

Punters do care about privacy says Queensland University study

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Australian Internet users are turned off by overly-intrusive personal data collection, according to a study conducted by Queensland University, and we want more information about how information is collected and used.

The 1,100-sample survey into Australians’ attitudes to the collection and use of personal information also found that more than 90 percent of respondents support “do not track”-style regulations that would allow them to track how information about them is collected and used.

The phone survey found that users also want to be able to opt-out of information collection and to request deletion of their personal information.

The study, which feeds into a growing unease about recent news such as Google’s revised privacy policy, also found that more than half of the people surveyed (56 percent) don’t want personally-targeted ads, and 64 percent don’t want personally-targeted news stories. This last result aligns with a Pew Internet & American Life study which found that 73 percent of Americans don’t like personalized search engine results.

Dr Mark Andrejevic, leader of the survey and head of the Queensland University’s Personal Information Project, noted that “most of us have very little idea about what information is being collected and how it’s being used, so we cannot provide informed consent.”

If the responses accurately reflect the attitudes of Australians in general, it also suggests that over-collection is harming some Internet companies, with 69 percent of respondents saying they had refused to use a Web site or application because it sought too much personal information. ®

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