International poll: Online behavior is changing due to privacy concerns

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Privacy concerns are pushing people to change their behavior online, according to an international poll published on Wednesday that found one in three avoid specific search terms or web pages to elude tracking.

Social media companies are “giving a turbo-charged communications channel to criminals, to smugglers, to traffickers, to exploiters”. Image courtesy  vTechno News

More than seven in 10 respondents to a survey of almost 10,000 people in nine countries said they were worried about how tech firms collected and used their personal data.

About half said they feared their online activity could reveal intimate information about their lives, according to the survey by rights group Amnesty International, which advocates for stronger rules on data protection.

“A clear majority of people are worried about the power Big Tech has over their lives,” said Tanya O’Carroll, director of Amnesty Tech, in a statement.

The Internet Association, a trade group representing tech firms including Facebook and Google, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Once seen as engines of growth and innovation, tech giants face accusations on both sides of the Atlantic of misusing their power and failing to protect users.

Social media companies have come under increased scrutiny on data privacy issues, fueled by last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in which tens of millions of Facebook profiles were harvested without their users’ consent

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