March 10, 2006

Seniors, Youth & Privacy

Internet users in their 20s are more likely than those in their 50s to take action to avoid software intrusions like viruses, adware, and spyware. In addition, new analysis of data provided by the AARP shows that younger people (age 45-54) are more likely than Americans age 65+ to take action to avoid identity fraud.

I presented these findings at the International Association of Privacy Professionals meeting here in DC yesterday. Chris Kelly, Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook, was also on the panel, which was quite timely since USA Today had a story about athletes’ use of the social networking site in the paper that day. He talked about how most students don’t think about how widely their personal information might be distributed and therefore are sometimes surprised when administrators (like Public Safety at Princeton University) use Facebook to enforce campus rules. He said that about 20% of users have changed their privacy settings.