91 percent of Americans concerned about online privacy -- 7 percent would change their name as protection

91% of Americans concerned about online privacy -- 7% would change their name as protection

There are lots of reasons to be concerned about privacy online -- not least the spying carried out by the NSA and other governmental agencies. While some companies are trying to stick up for the rights of their customer, many web users have now taken to censoring themselves. New research by WP Engine shows that the level of paranoia is higher than many people may have thought -- a staggering 91 percent of Americans are concerned about their online privacy. This is interesting in itself, but the steps that web users are willing to take if they feel their privacy is threatened makes for particularly interesting reading.

Of course there are some people who would take things to the extreme, going as far as changing their name in a bid to protect their privacy, but others would take slightly less drastic action. In fact only five percent of those surveyed say they would take no action to protect their privacy. The most common reaction to feeling threatened is to change passwords (79 percent of people), but some would go further, admitting they would consider changing their email address (48 percent) or change their credit cards (48 percent). Well over a third of those surveyed (42 percent) said they would be willing to delete all of their social media accounts. Three percent of people indicated that they would even move house as a result of having their privacy threatened online.

Concerns lie in many areas. Half of those questioned expressed concerns about the locations tracking capabilities of smartphones, and a similar number were worried about storing large volumes of personal information in the cloud. Nearly a third of Americans (30 percent) said that they were particularly concerned about mobile apps, and 57 percent said they would uninstall, or unregister from, apps that proved problematic.

More than half (51 percent) thought the government has access to too much private information, but social networks were highlighted as being worrisome. Two thirds of Americans' online privacy concerns center around social networks, but wearables, online games, and online dating services also had privacy issues.

Has your attitude to online privacy changed in recent years -- and would you go as far as changing your name to protect yourself?

Photo credit: YuryZap / Shutterstock

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