Americans' online privacy worries center on money -- and porn, a bit

According to a survey, Americans say their biggest concern with online infiltrators is that their financial info will be spied on. Some even admit they're worried about privacy while browsing porn.

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We don't mind who sees us? Global News/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If I were to consider running for president -- which I am still doing, however irrationally -- it's clear that the most promising platform is to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

I fancy that Americans will never fall out of love with money. However, our attitudes toward personal relations, sex, and all that are now at least approaching Holland's in 1997.

I have just received what I consider marginal proof of this.

You might imagine that all the online spying that occurs daily would have Americans clenching their stronger muscles and reverting to social conservatism, especially in digital matters.

However, research that has fallen before my eyes, pre-publication, suggests this may not be the case. This study wondered which online activities Americans wanted to protect most from prying eyes.

A mere 16 percent of those surveyed said one of their biggest worries was being spied upon while watching pornography.

How should one react?

Should one conclude that this activity is now so normal, so regular, and such a modern substitute for actual physical intimacy that many people think it ho-hum?

Or could it that be a vast swath of the population doesn't partake of such a thing or still isn't keen on admitting it, even in an anonymous survey?

Let's plump for the former. This makes it easier to contrast this 16 percent with the 71 percent of Americans who say they're petrified that someone will snoop as they access their bank accounts or other financial data. (Respondents could choose more than one answer.)

Don't spy on my ... shopping

Perhaps this is understandable. The next statistic is not -- or, if it is, the understanding is painful. A fulsome 57 percent worry greatly that someone will snoop on their online shopping.

Yes, Americans may not care frightfully if someone observes their proclivities on XHamster, but woe betide the satanic mind of the creepy fiend who observes their choice of leggings on MyHabit.

You'll be wondering who sponsored this fascinating, disturbing, yet curiously reassuring research. It was done on behalf of WPEngine, which exists to power sites and apps built on WordPress. The Rolling Stones trust it to do this.

When it came to which platforms made respondents most insecure, social networks came out on top at 66 percent, with email second at 56 percent. Online gaming and Google Glass worried around the same number as those concerned about their online porn.

The research was performed by Harris Interactive, which examined the sensitivities of 2,100 American adults between June 19-23.

What is quite startling about the current American psyche -- at least if you believe this research -- is that so many people said they were worried they'll be observed posting, sending, or looking at photos of themselves online. Twenty-seven percent said that this was a deep concern of theirs.

I choose to conclude that money, what we buy, and how we look are all more important to Americans than whether we enjoy observing others in flagrante to ease our burden.

After all, money, possessions, and looks say so much about us. Watching online porn merely says we're lonely.

 

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