NSA leaks trigger steep rise in ad/third-party-cookie blocking

An Annalect study of the public's attitudes towards surveillance found that Internet users are becoming more concerned about privacy in the wake of Edward Snowden's NSA leaks. They conclude that this will impact on online advertising, as more and more users adjust their browser settings to block third-party cookies and ads, and make use of privacy technologies in general. In support of the thesis, they cite strong growth in the percentage of users who have adjusted their browsers' privacy settings. These users are still a minority, though the percentage has increased from 22 to 38 in less than a year.

The findings have huge implications for the targeted advertising because the more concerned Internet users are about privacy, the more likely they are to change settings and block tracking.

"If these trends continue, and Mozilla implements its plan for its Firefox browser to block most third-party cookies by default later this year, the ad industry's ability to effectively use third-party cookies for marketing purposes will decrease," the study concluded.

Annalect's study was based on three national online surveys conducted from May to July among 2,100 adults 18+. Because of the NSA story, Annelect extended its second quarter report into July to document the impact of the news on Internet users' privacy attitudes and practices.

Study: NSA Scandal Is Still Setting Off Privacy Alarm Bells Among Consumers [Katy Bachman/AdWeek]

(via Memex 1.1)