2012 Most Trusted Internet Companies for Privacy

Anyone who has ever had their online accounts hacked or personal data breached knows it is extremely stressful to learn that what you thought was private and safe has been compromised.
People continue to use the Internet more than ever—for everything from shopping and working to staying in touch with friends and family through social media websites. The grim reality is that sometimes our personal information ends up getting into the wrong hands. This is one reason why so many people have turned to LifeLock to add a layer of protection against identity theft.

Most Trusted List
The Ponemon Institute recently released its very telling annual study titled “2012 Most Trusted Companies for Privacy.” The results of the institute’s in-depth and objective research are both interesting and troubling. In the study, more than 100,000 adult consumers were asked to list up to five companies that they personally believed were the most trustworthy when it came to protecting their private information.
The data collected was extremely telling. For example, American Express continues to hold on to the top spot as the most trusted company for privacy among consumers. Within the Internet and social media sector, Mozilla was found to be the most trusted company. Some of the new entrants to the Top 20 list include Microsoft and United Healthcare. In fact, healthcare in general is considered by consumers to be a trusted industry for privacy. Consumer products and banking were also rated very highly.

Didn't Make the Cut
On the flip side, Internet and social media (excluding e-commerce) are at the bottom of the list.Those who did not make the list of most trusted companies is, in many ways, just as interesting as those who did. Apple failed to make the list for the first time in four years. Other major names missing this year include powerhouses like Google, Best Buy, Yahoo, and AOL.

The Importance of Online Security
The study also revealed that the topic of Internet security is at the forefront of most peoples’ minds—a whopping 78% of the respondents perceive the protection of their personal information and privacy as “very important” or “important” when determining if a company is trustworthy. The importance of privacy has actually increased among respondents over the past seven years.

In general, identify theft was seen as the most significant threat to a person’s privacy, followed by government surveillance and data breaches. Speaking of which, 49% of the people who participated in the Ponemon study reported one or more data notifications within the past two years. Of this group, 77% of them said that their trust in the organization that reported the breach in security was diminished.

Mozilla feels that the study’s rankings prove the deep-seated distrust that many consumers have about online services, according to WebProNews. The rankings also imply that technology companies like Facebook and Google have more work to do to earn the trust of the people who use them every day.
As far as becoming more trustworthy online, the study found that 73% of respondents believe that “substantial security protections” over their private and personal information is the key feature to improving a relationship with a business or government organization.

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