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Internet, social media least trusted industries for privacy

Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and AOL were just four of the tech companies missing from Ponemon's Top 20 list of the most trusted companies.

Internet and social media ranked at the bottom on a list of the most trusted industries for privacy, according to the Ponemon Institute.

Released yesterday, Ponemon's "2012 Most Trusted Companies for Privacy" was compiled from a survey of U.S. adults asked to name the five companies they trust the most to protect the privacy of their personal information.

Based on more than 6,700 responses, the Top 20 list did not include several tech players that had been on it in past years.

Apple failed to make the list for the first time in four years. Google, Best Buy, Facebook, Yahoo, Dell, and AOL also were gone from the Top 20 after scoring good or decent grades in the past.

Those results aren't surprising, as many of those polled expressed concern about certain technologies. A full 59 percent of the respondents said they feel their privacy rights are diminished or undermined by social media, smart mobile devices, and geotracking tools.

Almost half the people surveyed said they received one or more data breach notifications over the past two years. And 77 percent of those people said such notifications hurt their trust in the organization reporting the breach.

A majority of those polled said they've shared personal information with an organization they didn't know or trust, with most admitting they did it for the convenience of online shopping. And only 35 percent feel they have control over their personal information, a percentage that has dropped steadily over the past seven years, the report said.

Identify theft was seen as the most significant threat to privacy, followed by government surveillance and data breaches.

And what do people expect from companies that use their personal information?

Security protection was named the most important feature. But a majority also said they don't want their data shared without their consent and they want the ability to be forgotten.

On a more positive note, Hewlett-Packard took second place in the rankings, just behind American Express.

Amazon was third, followed by IBM in fourth. eBay grabbed ninth place, with Intuit rounding out the Top 10.

Among other technology providers, Microsoft and Mozilla joined the list for the first time, ranked 17 and 20, respectively. Verizon, AT&T, and WebMD also numbered among the Top 20.

The survey was conducted last month.