A piece of research by Consumer Reports finds that Americans care about their online privacy. Many people look at the wholesale privacy disclosures taking place on social networks and conclude that this means that people don't care about privacy. But this ignores the possibility that people find social networking compelling, but can't figure out how to maintain their privacy while using them. Facebook proves that "people don't care about privacy" the way that the Cheesecake Factory proves that "people don't care about obesity."
According to a Consumer Reports press release, the national survey found that 71% of respondents said they were very concerned about companies selling or sharing their information about them without their permission. Another 65% of smartphone owners don't like that apps can access their contacts, photos, locations and other data without permission from them.
Other big concerns on the minds of the more than half of respondents: Advertisers going after kids with personalized ads based on their web-surfing data; companies keeping data even when it's not needed anymore and lastly, data about online activities and purchases being used to deny employment or affect their ability to get a loan.