Web users are smarter, and more cynical, according to Consumer Reports Webwatch, in a report from October 2005.
Due to ethical problems, health concerns, and self-protective measures, web users have retreated back to the real, offline world, and have drastically reduced web activity.
"Leap of Faith"
Web users are demanding more of Web sites while becoming less trustful of them, and are adjusting their behavior in response to what they see as real threats online. In fact, almost a third say they are cutting back their Web use, according to a national survey and report prepared for WebWatch by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI).
For all online users, the report found that concern about identity theft is substantial, and is changing consumer behavior in major ways.
Four in five Internet users (80 percent) are at least somewhat concerned someone could steal their identity from personal information on the Internet. Nearly nine out of ten users (86 percent) have made at least one change in their behavior because of this fear:
• 30 percent say they have reduced their overall use of the Internet.
• A majority of Internet users (53 percent) say they have stopped giving out personal information on the Internet.
• 25 percent say they have stopped buying things online.
• 29 percent of those who shop online say they have cut back on how often they buy on the Internet.
Also see "Who Are You Online?" by web ethics columnist Angela Gunn (Oct. 2002).