Survey Results: Online Privacy and Your Queasy Button

photo by sasastro

Christian Heller likes the book The Road to Reality, though he'll probably never finish it. He is 5 foot 8, drinks socially, and makes less than 20 thousand dollars a year. Oh yes, and his sleeping patterns are very irregular. We've never met Christian Heller. We've never even spoken with him! He lives on the other side of the world in Germany. So how do we know all of these intimate details about his life? Because they are all just a few clicks away.

Christian is posting everything he can about his daily life online. This includes financial information, phone records, work productivity and love life (he's 26, straight and single).

It's an experiment in something he calls post-privacy because he believes privacy is dead.

There's a profile of Christian Heller on Spark 152. Nora also talks with Canada's Privacy Commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart. The commissioner has just published a report about online privacy.

Spark Community Survey on Personal Privacy Online

In the meantime, we wanted to hear from you. What are you comfortable revealing online? What do you feel is imperative to keep private? In other words, when do you start to get a little queasy?

So we tried something new--a survey about online privacy. It's not scientific, to be sure. Just a way to see where some of you are at. (By the way, thanks to all of you who took the time to fill it out. It was fascinating to watch the results pour in.)

This was the question:

Where are your boundaries when it comes to sharing personal data online? Check all those that apply.

These were the results:

Are you kidding? I would never share any personal info online. - 15% 

I won't post info like status updates and favourite movies on social networking sites. - 27% 

I won't post my birth date (including year). - 46% 

I won't share personal photos. - 35% 

I won't post moment-to-momentlocation information on sites like Foursquare and Facebook Places. - 79% 
I won't use a web site to do my banking. - 5% 

What's the big deal? I share everything online. - 13% 

Other, please specify: 

I share personal but non-identifying information, where I can avoid it. 

I never email important numbers (credit card, passport, driver's license, etc.) 

I won't post a status update that says when I'm out of town - may as well write "come on over and rob me!" 

I guess we'll consider this an exception... 

I won't post pictures of my children. 

I'm transgender, I don't try to "hide" that fact but on some online domains I try to avoid bringing it up I have a blog, but I decide what information I post! 

I post my birthday on FB, but I also monitor my privacy settings. I wouldn't put anything up on FB that would 'ruin my life' if it went truly public. As for internet banking -- I just make sure I'm on a secure internet connection (no free wifi!) 

I'm quite open online but still try to be mindful about what I share. 

I share mostly everything, but keep contact details discrete when possible.

I lock down my FB profile and pics I never posted pictures of my kids on networking sites (rethinking that, now that they have their own pages...) 

financial, location information - I do not post them and give them only to sites I trust (mostly those I do business with.) 

I tend to strip EXIF data from photos I plan to post online. 

I only allow cookies to remain on my computer during the session and delete them every time I close my browser. 

I do not share my physical location online. 

I rarely share any personal info. 

I use a pseudonym for social network sites. 

I use pseudonyms for my personal social media platforms but use my real name for professional accounts 

I won't share everything with my real name. (teachers are always teachers) 

i don't talk about my feelings or my boyfriend, online 

i think it sucks how many people post my photo on their sites without asking my permission. even if i pose for the picture, i don't do it thinking this will be online for everyone and anyone to see (including my employer, my mother, my ex, my dog-walker, my kids' teacher, the police officer down the road...) 

I won't publicize information that is commonly used to verify identify (mother's maiden name, birth date). I won't post my physical mailing address. I won't post anything in a status update that I wouldn't want to be completely public and seen by coworkers, friends, and family. 

I avoid putting my home address and phone number on social networking sites. 

I'm careful about what I post online. If it has my name on it, I imagine what a potential employer might think. Other than that, I don't use my daughter's real name. 

I won't put anything even remotely related to my family or physical whereabouts. 

I won't use, give my personal information to, or keep my personal information with a service that makes it harder than necessary to restrict it, distributes it too freely (commercially or otherwise), treats my privacy as if it were dead, or carelessly releases or loses my personal private information I trusted with them (Yes Facebook, that was largely, but not only, pointed at you. No matter how good the cause or great the contest I am not returning to you either) 

I limit who can see my information in Facebook. 

I do share some information, but I am quite discreet about what I share. 

I made a big mistake a year ago sharing too much. S.B. 

I wonder how identity theft takes place. I won't use my credit card online.


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