Parents, teens want more privacy online: poll

Fri Oct 8, 2010 3:50pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A large percentage of U.S. parents would support a law requiring companies to be barred from collecting information about Internet users unless they explicitly agree, according to a new poll out on Friday.

Concern over privacy, which 85 percent of parents said they were more concerned about now than five years ago, has pushed lawmakers and federal agencies to advocate tighter rules.

A poll commissioned by Common Sense Media and done by Zogby International found support for government action.

The poll found that 92 percent of parents were concerned that teenagers and children were too open about personal matters online and that 75 percent believed that social networking sites failed to protect children's privacy.

Eighty-eight percent of parents and 85 percent of teenagers wanted online companies to ask their permission before sharing information with advertisers, and 88 percent of parents would support a law making "opt in" a legal requirement, according to the poll.

Since much of the information on the Web is free because it is a vehicle for advertising, companies have worried that "do not track" lists could shake the Web's financial foundations.

But the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, which is pushing a plan to extend broadband, argued that privacy concerns could hurt Internet commerce.

"This distrust has implications for industry," FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said.

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz has urged the industry to do a better job of self-regulation or face tougher federal oversight.   Continued...

<p>A man gestures before a computer screen in a file photo. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>