Survey: People seek help controlling personal information

REDMOND, Wash. — Nearly half of online users say they believe they have little or no control about how their data may be collected by online companies.

The figures were part of a survey released by Microsoft Corp. to mark Data Privacy Day 2013. The company says the survey reflects consumers' perceptions about how their information is used online and a new series of short videos to help people better manage their online privacy.

According to the results of a Microsoft-commissioned survey* of 1,000 U.S. adults, people also increasingly search trusted sources of information to help them make better choices about their online privacy.

Highlights of the research include:

  • Forty-five percent said they feel they have little or no control over the personal information companies gather about them while they are browsing the Web or using online services, such as photo-sharing, travel or gaming.
  • Four in 10 said they feel they totally or mostly understand how to protect their online privacy.
  • An equal number of people (39 percent) said they are turning to friends and family, as well as company privacy statements, as their top source for privacy information.
  • A third of those surveyed (32 percent) said they are paying attention to companies' privacy reputations, track records and policies when choosing which websites to visit or services to use.

"As online activities have become a valuable part of daily life, privacy is incredibly important. At Microsoft, we strive to help our customers manage their personal information online by providing easy-to-understand privacy policies, settings and guidance," said Brendon Lynch, chief privacy officer, Microsoft. "We take seriously our responsibility to customers by investing in a comprehensive and dynamic privacy program that implements our policies and delivers privacy innovations to our customers."

Microsoft has created a new video series called "Privacy in Action" to highlight features that can help people better manage their personal information online. The videos, as well as guidance and information about privacy options in Microsoft products and services, will be available at http://www.microsoft.com/yourprivacy. The videos illustrate privacy capabilities and preferences in Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft's Personal Data Dashboard. More videos on other products and services will be coming soon.