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New Poll Finds Web Users Want Google to Keep Data Private; Full Text Access to Report Also Available

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Elinor Mills at News.com clues us into a poll conducted over the weekend and reported by Verne Kopytoff in the in the San Francisco Chronicle and Michael Bazeley in the San Jose Mercury News that shows 56% of those surveyed don't want Google handing over any info to the government.

From the SF Chronicle article:

As part of the findings, 56 percent of respondents said they do not want Google to turn over any information to the government. More than three quarters of the respondents, or 77 percent, did not even know that Google collected information that personally identifies them. Google keeps records of IP addresses, which can be traced back to individual computers. In cases where the government is trying to prosecute a crime, according to the survey, the respondents were more open to Google sharing information. About 14 percent said that they were willing to give the government access in such cases, while 44 percent said that they were willing in only certain cases.

Mike Bazeley points out that many of those surveyed would stop using Google if they gave the government the data they requested.

From the Mercury News article:

More than a third of the survey-takers -- 38 percent -- said they would stop using Google if the company ever turned over information about their searches to the government. The survey did not ask people for opinions about Yahoo, Microsoft or AOL.

The poll was made up of a random sample of 1,017 Internet users over the age of 18 and conducted by the Ponemon Institute [via email], a privacy research organization (aka think tank) group based in Michigan.

I'm interested to see if the search companies who handed over info to the feds (none of it with personally identifiable info as Danny clearly points out here) lose any market share and/or total number of searches in the future due to sharing data with the government.

Also worth a look (if you haven't done so already) is Danny's post: Private Searches Versus Personally Identifiable Searches; a statement from MSN along with plenty of reader comments on MSN Search's WebLog, a review of and links to the court filings, and some background reports on privacy, the Internet and related topics from the Congressional Research Service.

Postscript: Thank you to the The Ponemon Institute who have given us permission to post the the full text of the report containing the results of their recent poll (PDF).


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