Opera Study: Americans Most Fearful About Online Government Monitoring

Opera logoIn honor of Data Privacy Day 2011, Norwegian browser-maker Opera Software ASA has released a security study. The study offers some pretty humorous and intriguing statistics.

The study finds that more Americans worry about their online privacy being violated (25 percent) than going bankrupt (23 percent) or losing their job (22 percent).

Also Americans appeared to be the most fearful of their government. Of the three web-heavy nations studied -- the U.S., Japan, and Russia -- Americans were by far the most fearful of the government monitoring their online activities. Over 35 percent said they were the most worried about the government having too much insight into their online activities, versus only 14 percent in Russia and 7 percent in Japan.

Still, Americans appeared to be generally more confident than their security savvy than their foreign peers. The results show 61 percent of Americans surveyed believed their passwords were very secure, versus only ~50 percent and ~26 percent in Russia and Japan, respectively. Americans also deleted their web histories most often and were second only to the Russians in antivirus use percentage (79 percent in the U.S.).

Interestingly there was some observed gender difference in terms of web browsing habits. The study found 52 percent of men surveyed delete their web browsing history regularly, versus only 42 percent of women.

The survey was carried out via contractor YouGov and included over 1,000 participants over the age of 18 in each of the three countries examined.

In related news, Opera released a minor update -- 11.01 [download] [changelog] -- to its browser, fixing several security vulnerabilities, one of which was critical. You can read more about that vulnerability here.

Opera also added support for a new extension [add-ons] that is popular on other browsers -- Web of Trust [press release]. The extensions offers user-submitted and expert reviews of sites' trustworthiness when you mouse-over a web-link. The service also offers child safety ratings, to help prevent children from being exposed to inappropriate content online.

Vesa Perälä, CEO of WOT describes, "WOT brings transparency to the Web and makes it more difficult for unscrupulous site owners to operate. For example, the WOT community is better at detecting scam sites than automated systems alone, because it requires input from real consumers to identify bad customer service. We are pleased to make the WOT extension available as another line of defense for Opera users."

Tags: Opera

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