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URL can't have my private number

Users balk at giving personal information online

Consumers, especially those in their first year online, are reluctant to provide much personal information to companies other than banks, according to a new study released Monday by research firm Jupiter Media Metrix.

The study also found that the majority of users surveyed are resistant to models like Microsoft's Hailstorm, in which a single company stores user information and gives it to other vendors, companies or to the user upon request.

The US study tracked users who have been online for five or more years and those online for a year or less. It examined the differences between the two groups in their willingness to store personal information beyond name and address with third parties.

The bulk of net newbies surveyed didn't trust companies, with 44 percent of respondents saying that they wouldn't give them their personal information. Thirty-four percent of long-term web users said the same thing. Among veteran internet users, online retailers were trusted the most, with 36 percent saying they trust those companies with personal information. Only 12 percent of new users felt the same way.

Banks were trusted with personal information by 31 percent of five-year users and only 13 percent of new users. Credit card companies received the trust of 25 percent and 11 percent of users, respectively.

When it came to the trust placed in specific companies, ISPs ranked first, with 18 percent of veterans and 27 percent of new users saying they trusted them. Among other companies studied, Yahoo has the trust of 16 percent of veteran users and 15 percent of new users, while the Microsoft Network (MSN) has the trust of 9 percent and 6 percent, respectively, the study found.


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