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Poll: 86% of Us Are Hiding Our Digital Tracks

by Fox Van Allen on September 06, 2013

online privacyI’ve been getting increasingly paranoid about my what I share online lately for a number of reasons. Certainly the NSA spying scandal plays a part. But the most compelling reason for me is that I don’t like private companies having a full dossier on my life to use against me in a sales pitch. So I create fake email accounts, keep my Facebook privacy settings locked down and utilize private browsing whenever I can.

As it turns out, I’m not the only person worried about maintaining at least some privacy in the Facebook Age. A newly released Pew Internet & American Life Project poll says that 86% of us “have taken steps online to remove or mask (our) digital footprints.”

To me, that figure makes a lot of sense. Tools to help increase privacy online are increasingly common. Of course, as Mr. Carlos Danger proved to us earlier this summer, some of us are better at covering up our digital tracks than others.

The poll also found that 55% of us are taking those steps because we’re trying to avoid someone in particular such as a spouse, boss, or the government. For some, being less visible online is a matter of personal safety – 12% of survey respondents reported being stalked or harassed online, and 4% said the threat eventually led to real-world physical danger.

For more on the topic, check out our guide on how to browse the web anonymously and these tools for protecting your online reputation.


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