Litigation is a machine which you go into as a pig and come out as a sausage - Ambrose Bierce, allegedly
SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has completed a survey of the privacy wants of its users and found a general awareness that privacy exists, but little evidence of action being taken to preserve it.
The firm is following up on a little consumer privacy campaign that it started last month and that attempted to pigeonhole people into being some kind of privacy person.
This week an update has appeared from Mary Snapp, deputy general counsel at Microsoft. Snapp said that the "Your Privacy Type" survey managed to pool data from some 4,000 people - we know, irony - and that the firm had been able to build up a good idea of people's attitudes.
"Eighty-four percent of those polled expressed concern about their online privacy. That particular finding was not surprising by itself, but interesting when compared to only 47 percent of the respondents who were actively taking measures to protect their privacy online. There's a wide gap between interest and action," said Snapp.
"As a lawyer and a 'Privacy Please' type myself, it was encouraging to see that most consumers value privacy, with an average of almost 40 percent falling into the same category as I do. The number of 'Carefree Surfers', who are highly active online and are not worried about sharing information, is slightly higher in the US and the UK, but still very comparable to other markets surveyed."
Since the survey looked at the UK, Europe and the US we are able to get a little look at the privacy differences that a modern traveller would encounter.
Germans, we are told, keep things pretty close to their chest, are "less likely" to be active on the social media scene, and particularly unlikely to share their email address.
In France people are more social, on the internet, and around half said that they go onto social media websites and share goodies like their full name and hometown. A third share their email address.
The US has the most active social media accounts, and 87 percent of respondents gave a sage nod in the affirmative when asked if this applied to them.
Leave it to the Brits to be the most cautious. Snapp said that locally we take more action to protect our privacy than they do over the waters. Not by much though.
51 percent of Brits said that they take efforts to protect their privacy. This compares to 48 percent in the US, 46 percent in France and 44 percent in Germany.
"At Microsoft, we too are trying to 'mind the gap' between people's concerns about their online privacy and their actual actions to protect that privacy. Our privacy campaign is designed not only to better inform consumers of the actions they can take to protect their privacy, but also to help us better understand the gap between interest and action," added Snapp.
"This continues to be an issue of great importance for us, and will remain a top priority for Microsoft in meeting the needs of the hundreds of millions of consumers who gain value from our products and services every day. We can only meet this commitment if we engage with you to better understand your needs and deliver the kind of choice and control you're seeking." µ
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