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For Immediate Release

What is Privacy? Poll Exposes Generational Divide on Expectations of Privacy, According to Zogby/Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee Survey

18-24 Year Olds Harbor Profoundly Different Privacy Perceptions, Survey Finds

Washington, DC, Jan. 30 -- Nine out of 10 Americans believe the Internet has changed our expectations of privacy, according to a new poll conducted by Zogby International on behalf of the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee in advance of its annual policy conference in Washington.

Ninety-one percent said they agreed with the statement that our expectations of privacy have changed due to technologies and the Internet. Seven percent disagreed and two percent were not sure.

But a vast chasm exists between what 18-24 year-olds believe is an invasion of privacy and what other Americans consider to be an intrusion. For example:

Whether health care, e-commerce or social networking, privacy is at the forefront of every major policy debate, said Tim Lordan, executive director of the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee. This survey raises questions that could significantly impact our policymaking on privacy in years to come, assuming the MySpace generation maintains their privacy views as they age.

The survey was released in advance of the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee annual State of the Net policy conference in Washington, DC.

The Zogby poll underscores how 18-24 year-olds view, and use, the Internet in ways that distinctly set them apart:

While the overwhelming majority of Americans believe our expectations of privacy have changed, they remain cautious about when a younger person should be allowed to use the Internet. Over 75 percent of those polled said a child should wait until they are 13 or older before getting email access (and 40.7 percent of them said the person should be at least over the age of 16 or wait until an adult). In addition, a whopping 65.6 percent said access to social networking sites should be restricted until the age of 16 or adulthood. Remarkably, 18-24 year-olds tended to be more cautious than their older counterparts in this regard. Across the board, from email to social networking, children should wait much longer to use the Internet according to 18-24 year olds.

And the Internet is still not viewed as the best place to meet someone. When asked if they had a 20-year-old daughter what would they least want their daughter to bring home as a boyfriend, respondents said they would least want it to be a guy she met on the Internet -- even over someone she met at a bar or at a Star Trek convention. Of those polled, 31.9 percent considered the Internet boyfriend to be the worst, followed by a guy she met in a bar (22.3 percent) and then a Trekkie (16.1 percent).

Other findings from the poll include:

The Zogby poll surveyed 1,200 adults and was conducted from 1/24-1/26. It has a margin of error of 2.9 percent. Conference sponsor 463 Communications helped conceive and develop the survey.


For more information, contact:
Danielle Yates, 949-280-0703, or e-mail.