Search Privacy Low On List Of Privacy Concerns For US Internet Users

Despite the fact that search history can be so revealing about people’s desires and interests, a new survey of US internet users finds that concern over search privacy — while significant — still ranks far behind other online privacy issues.

The survey by the Pew Research Center covered 1,000 adults in the US, was conducted last month and asked a wide-range of questions about online privacy. You can read it here, and also see our coverage on Marketing Land: Report: Almost 90 Percent Concerned About Online Privacy & Trying To Avoid Advertisers.

One part asked people to rank types of internet content they were most concerned about protecting:

search privacy

For those ranking items as “very important” to protect, the content of email topped the list, at 68%. Who they email was next, at 62%. Seventh on the list of nine items was search history, with only 44% ranking that as very important to protect.

Concern rises when the percentage of those reporting “very important” is combined with those saying “somewhat important.” Then, email content still tops the list at 81%. But search history moves up to fifth place, with a combined figure of 69%, tied with concern over browsing history.

A survey last year by Pew found 73% considered the use of search history to personalize search results to be a privacy invasion. That’s in line with the 69% combined figure of those having concerns over search history. But the previous survey didn’t ask about search history in perspective to other types of privacy issues.

Maybe, in the wake if the PRISM revelations, people have even more concern over email before. Or, perhaps they’ve always been more concerned about that rather than search history.

Related Articles

Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Legal: Privacy | Stats: Search Behavior | Top News


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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