Studies Point to Generation Gap in Online Privacy Concerns


online privacy, securityTwo studies released this week show that so-called millennials and adults in their thirties and beyond view online privacy differently and take different approaches to protect it.

A study conducted by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz research firm found that those aged 18-34 were more willing to trade private information for discounts and customized online experiences than older users.

“Online privacy is dead — Millennials understand that, while older users have not adapted,” said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the USC Annenberg center.

More than half of the millennials said they would share their location with companies in order to receive deals at nearby businesses, while 42 percent of users 35 and older would.

Still, a full 70 percent of millennials said no one should be allowed to access their “personal data or web behavior,” compared to 77 percent of the older users.

The Abine survey looked at the specific actions younger and older users had taken to safeguard their online privacy.

Baby boomers, Abine found, were more likely to define privacy in terms of offline behaviors, while millennials often thought of it as a digital phenomenon.

Older users were 25 percent more likely to have done nothing to protect their online privacy. But more than half of the users of all ages would be willing to pay for greater privacy protection, though older users were generally willing to pay more.

“The fact that more than half of respondents would be willing to pay for more online privacy shows a real market demand for solutions. This shared consumer mindset and growing concern over the rise of big data will determine the future of the privacy industry,” said Abine CEO Bill Kerrigan.

Yet millennials were 84 percent more likely to distrust Facebook with their data and 23 percent more consider censoring themselves online out of fear that what they say will come back to haunt them in the future, Abine found.

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