Poll Shows Privacy Not Top Consumer Priority

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Although 76 percent of consumers polled said that privacy protection is a priority, it was seventh out of nine when consumers were asked what social concerns mattered most to them, according to a study commissioned by the Association for Competitive Technology.

Topping privacy in the top three spots were issues such as education, crime and health care. Then came energy, the environment and social security and Medicare. The only two issues that ranked lower than privacy were national defense and tax cuts.

Voter/Consumer Research conducted the study, which was released yesterday. It was comprised of 1,001 telephone interviews with registered voters between June 1 and June 6.

Of Internet users surveyed, 65 percent said that a Web site's privacy policy is a factor in deciding with which sites they will do business.

On the topic of legislation, 71 percent of respondents said that consumer education and privacy tools would be more useful than "one-size-fits-all government rules."

Fifty-five percent said that existing laws should be enforced before new laws are put in place.

"In the area of marketing data, consumers make choices based on privacy policies, thus driving the marketplace to address privacy concerns," said Jonathan Zuck, president of Washington, DC-based Association for Competitive Technology. "It hardly seems like the right time for new legislation when market forces are getting the job done."

Even so, 89 percent said that if a new privacy law is passed it should cover all personal information, not just online data.

Additional poll results are available on ACT's Web site at www.ACTonline.org/issues/privacypoll.asp.

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