Summary of findings
Most internet users would like to be anonymous online at least occasionally, but many think it is not possible to be completely anonymous online. New findings in a United States survey show:
- 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints—ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email, from avoiding using their name to using virtual networks that mask their internet protocol (IP) address.
- 55% of internet users have taken steps to avoid observation by specific people, organizations, or the government
Still, 59% of internet users do not believe it is possible to be completely anonymous online, while 37% of them believe it is possible.
A section of the survey looking at various security-related issues finds that notable numbers of internet users say they have experienced problems because others stole their personal information or otherwise took advantage of their visibility online—including hijacked email and social media accounts, stolen information such as Social Security numbers or credit card information, stalking or harassment, loss of reputation, or victimization by scammers.
Authored by Lee Rainie, Sara Kiesler, Ruogu Kang, Mary Madden.