The results of a new study on internet privacy have revealed that 61% of Britons do not trust social media giant Facebook, whilst Google is far more trusted, with 69% of those surveyed saying they do trust the world's biggest search engine. For Microsoft 65% of respondents said they trust the company, but for Apple the figure dropped to just 56% of people who trust the manufacturer and content provider.
In addition, when asked whether they felt comfortable knowing that their home internet service provider or mobile phone network can track everything they do online, just 26% of people said they feel comfortable about it. 18% admitted they did not know their internet provider or mobile network had such powers.
Meanwhile, 63% said they do not think the government should be able to track their online activity. Regarding online advertising internet users were asked for their opinion on adverts which follow people from website to website - known as retargeting by advertisers - with 60% of people saying they find them annoying. The respondents were allowed to give more than one opinion about the personalised ads and 47% also said they find them intrusive, whilst just 13% said they find them useful.
The survey also revealed that 73% of people are worried about their mobile devices or computers being hacked.
Stuart Spice, whose online privacy company Vest carried out the survey, commented, "Seeing the different perspectives of those surveyed on the major online brands is revealing, especially given how trusted Google are and how few people trust Facebook in comparison. The fact that more than 80% of people have never read their privacy policies is also quite startling."
"Concerns about online privacy are not new, but are certainly growing due to repeated high profile data leaks and constant revelations about surveillance. With so many people relying on web based email, search engines, social media and mobile apps on a daily basis we want to raise awareness about how much personal data people are handing over, often even without their knowledge, and to understand that we should all be clear about what we want big companies to do with our data."
The research was carried out in February of 2016, with all respondents being UK based adults. VestVPN.com who commissioned the survey are an online privacy company who enable people to use the internet without being tracked, hacked or bombarded by advertising.