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How savvy are you about online security? Take the test & find out.

By deepsand ·
Before reading the findings of a study, conducted by the Univ. of Pennsylvania, based on this test, try it yourself.

Seventeen Facts American Shoppers Need to Know - But Don't

For the press release, see
For the full report, see


Topics > Privacy & Security > Privacy > Online Privacy >

How Savvy Are You About Your Online Security?

U.S. residents are "dangerously ignorant" of the data that Web site owners collect on them, a study shows.

Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service
Wednesday, June 01, 2005

U.S. Internet users are dangerously ignorant about the types of data that Web site owners collect from them and how that data is used, a new study has found.

This lack of awareness makes U.S. Internet users vulnerable to online exploitation, such as personal information misuse, fraud, and overcharging, according a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.

For the study, titled "Open to Exploitation: American Shoppers Online and Offline" and released today, 1500 adult U.S. Internet users were asked true-or-false questions about topics such as Web site privacy policies and retailers' pricing schemes.

Failing Grades
Most respondents failed the test, correctly answering, on average, 6.7 of the 17 questions. The study's interviews, conducted between early February and mid-March 2005, yielded some findings the authors consider alarming, including:

75 percent of respondents wrongly believe that if a Web site has a privacy policy, it will not share their information with third parties.
Almost half of respondents (49 percent) can't identify "phishing" scam e-mail messages, which information thieves dress up to look as though they came from a legitimate company, such as a bank or store, to lure users into entering sensitive information. Requested information might include Social Security numbers, passwords, and bank account numbers.
62 percent of respondents don't know that an online store can simultaneously charge different prices for the same item based on information it has on different shoppers--a practice that can make users victims of what the study's authors call "price discrimination."
To address the problems identified in the study, the Annenberg Public Policy Center is proposing three measures:

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission should mandate that Web sites replace the term "Privacy Policy" with "Using Your Information" to combat users' misconception that those documents are Web sites' pledges not to share their information with third parties.
Consumer education and media literacy should be taught in elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States.
By government decree, online retailers should be required to disclose what data they have collected about customers, and when and how they will use that data.
If you'd like to take the test yourself, go here.

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Either you're one lucky parent, or ...

by deepsand In reply to Pretty Savy

you've got Stepford kids!

I know a zillion people who would kill for the success that you've had.

If you can find a way to market your method, in a manner that is almost guaranteed to work, you can make your fortune.

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Too many kids are too trusting

by jmgarvin In reply to Either you're one lucky p ...

It is amazing what kids will give away online! I saw a study (I'll have to dig up the link) that said 90% of all children in the study gave away names, birthdays, and other critical information.

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Adults are'nt much better.

by deepsand In reply to Too many kids are too tru ...

There have been a number of "man-on-the-street" studies in which a surpringly large portion of the sample willing gave up user ids & passwords for a nominal compensation.

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Yup...Adults are stupid

by jmgarvin In reply to Adults are'nt much better ...

'Course I'd give a false name and password for a free latte ;-)

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Adults ARE stupid

by Oz_Media In reply to Yup...Adults are stupid

I think MOst children are MUCH smarter than adults. Kids to whacky things but they simply don't know better and have a lot to learn, which they generally will.

Adults, know better and STILL do stupid things all the time.

"I didn't think it would work to well"
"I should have known better"
"I KNEW that was gonna happen"
"I didn't think it would hold up too well"

Kids never say these things, they just don't know better, adults know better but do stupid things regardless.

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Ignorance vs Stupidity

by deepsand In reply to Adults ARE stupid

Children possess the former; adults, the latter.

And, both are fun to watch.

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