What personal data do users want to protect the most?

Though their behaviors often say otherwise, a new survey says people are worried about the security of their personal information. 

Although posting personal details to social networking profiles and offering demographic data to organizations for marketing campaigns has become the norm, people do still care about privacy, according to a recent survey conducted by Pitney Bowes.

Overall, people remain protective of their private information, with 34% of U.S. consumers saying they don’t trust any organization with their personal data. Another 43% believe that companies have asked them for more information than is necessary.

The worries are two-fold: People fear both that companies will misuse their information and share it with others, and that they won’t properly protect that data from cybercriminals and other threats.

What data do people care most about protecting? When asked what information they would be unwilling to share with an organization, the most popular answers given were:

  1. Political persuasion (cited by 76% of respondents)
  2. Religion (71%)
  3. Ethnicity (54%)
  4. Sexuality (45%)
  5. Credit card number (40%)
  6. Mobile phone number (38%)
  7. Income (36%), and
  8. Weight (24%).

As those answers show, despite all the “over-sharing” that occurs online these days, most people do care about privacy to some degree, especially when it comes to info there’s no clear reason for a company to have.

What does this mean for IT departments? One method experts recommend IT use to make users care more about security is to give them tips on how to keep their personal information safe online. Incorporating advice on how to secure the data users wish to keep private can help get more of them to pay attention during IT training.

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