Most people believe they have little to no say at all on how corporations use their personal information.

That was the biggest news coming out of a new survey conducted by German security company Avira. The Avira research project also found that 81 per cent of the survey respondents want more control back, which conflicts many other studies that have people unaware that they have any sense of control.

The personal information survey was presented to a random sample of Avira’s Web site visitors during February and March of 2013. There were 950 respondents with a margin of error of +/- of 3.18 per cent. The two-part question asked:

How much of a say do you feel you have today over your personal information on the Internet?

A) 54.53 per cent said they feel like they have almost no say over how companies use their personal information online.

B) 32.11 per cent said they feel like they have a little say over how companies use their personal information online.

C) 7.16 per cent said they feel like they have a lot of say over how companies use their personal information online.

D) 6.21 per cent said they feel like they have an almost complete say over how companies use their personal information online.

A follow-up question asked:

How much control would you like to have over your personal information on the Internet?

A) 80.95 per cent wanted more control.

B) 16.53 per cent were happy with how much control they have.

C) 2.53 per cent said they liked to have less control.

Sorin Mustaca, IT security expert at Avira, said most people don’t really understand what is happening with the information about them, and this scares many of them. The reality is that they have more control than they think. For example, only few know that they can disable the advertising tracker in their iPhones, they can install a do-not-track extension into their web browsers, such as Avira’s Browser Tracking Blocker, and that they can control many privacy and security settings in Facebook and other social networking Web sites. Last but not least, no tool or security solution is able to replace healthy common sense: do not share information about you which you don’t want to be public.

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