TRUSTe privacy research finds high consumer awareness of internet cookies, but 71% not aware of imminent
With only two days left until the EU Cookie Directive comes into force in the UK, a TRUSTe privacy survey conducted online by Ipsos MORI reveals that 84% of online consumers aged 16-64 are aware of internet cookies, but only 1 in 4 (24%) are aware that under UK law companies must comply with the Directive by May 26th.The Directive requires a user's informed consent before companies can store or access information (via cookies, online trackers, and other means) from a user's computer or other computing devices.
While online consumer cookie awareness is high (84%), their awareness of the broader category of website trackers (which includes cookies and other technologies like tracking pixels) is markedly lower, at 58%. An April 2011 TRUSTe privacy survey found that top UK websites carry an average of 14 online trackers per page, of which more than two-thirds come from third-parties unaffiliated with the company operating the website. The two studies suggest a large gap between the widespread use of website trackers and actual consumer awareness of the practice.
Among online consumers who were aware of the Cookie Directive, the survey revealed strong attitudes and expectations around the Directive. TRUSTe found that 78% of these consumers expect companies to comply with the Directive and 55% plan to only visit compliant websites going forward. The survey also found a large percentage (51%) of all online consumers surveyed were uncertain of their intentions, suggesting the percentage of people who will avoid visiting non-compliant websites is even higher. These findings are consistent with a March 2011 TRUSTe privacy survey of UK consumers conducted by Harris Interactive, in which 88% said they avoid doing business with companies they believe do not protect their privacy. They are also consistent with the findings from a 2011 survey by the Information Commissioner's Office, which found that protecting personal information is the second highest public concern in the UK, ahead of unemployment, health and national security.
"UK consumers are greatly concerned about online tracking and privacy and yet our research reveals that most remain unaware of the measures that are about to come into force to address this issue," said Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe.
"TRUSTe is committed to educating consumers on these issues and supporting our business customers in addressing the requirements of this Directive in the UK and across the European Union. We have a deep history of delivering flexible technology solutions that enable companies to implement innovative online business models while providing privacy-friendly consumer experiences."
Detailed findings from this TRUSTe research include:
The British Consumer Awareness of the EU Cookie Directive Survey was conducted online by Ipsos MORI on behalf of TRUSTe among a total of 2,004 adults aged 16-64 in Great Britain from 11 - 14 May 2012 via its Online Omnibus Survey. The survey data were weighted by age, gender, region and social grade, working status and main householder shopper to be nationally representative of online GB adults aged 16-64.
Notes To Editors