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Americans are the most fearful of government monitoring online.  (Source: Opera Software ASA/YouGov)

Americans were quite confident their passwords were strong, though.  (Source: Opera Software ASA/YouGov)

Opera has approved a Web of Trust extension for its browser.  (Source: Opera Software ASA)
Study also shows men have slightly different browsing security tendencies than women

In honor of Data Privacy Day 2011, Norwegian browser-maker Opera Software ASA has released a security study [press release].  The study offers some pretty humorous and intriguing statistics.

The study finds that more Americans worry about their online privacy being violated (25 percent) than going bankrupt (23 percent) or losing their job (22 percent).  

Also Americans appeared to be the most fearful of their government.  Of the three web-heavy nations studied -- the U.S., Japan, and Russia -- Americans were by far the most fearful of the government monitoring their online activities.  Over 35 percent said they were the most worried about the government having too much insight into their online activities, versus only 14 percent in Russia and 7 percent in Japan.

Still, Americans appeared to be generally more confident than their security savvy than their foreign peers.  The results show 61 percent of Americans surveyed believed their passwords were very secure, versus only ~50 percent and ~26 percent in Russia and Japan, respectively.  Americans also deleted their web histories most often and were second only to the Russians in antivirus use percentage (79 percent in the U.S.).

Interestingly there was some observed gender difference in terms of web browsing habits.  The study found 52 percent of men surveyed delete their web browsing history regularly, versus only 42 percent of women.

The survey was carried out via contractor YouGov and included over 1,000 participants over the age of 18 in each of the three countries examined.

In related news, Opera released a minor update -- 11.01 [download] [changelog] -- to its browser, fixing several security vulnerabilities, one of which was critical.  You can read more about that vulnerability here.

Opera also added support for a new extension [add-ons] that is popular on other browsers -- Web of Trust [press release].  The extensions offers user-submitted and expert reviews of sites' trustworthiness when you mouse-over a web-link.  The service also offers child safety ratings, to help prevent children from being exposed to inappropriate content online.

Vesa Perälä, CEO of WOT describes, "WOT brings transparency to the Web and makes it more difficult for unscrupulous site owners to operate. For example, the WOT community is better at detecting scam sites than automated systems alone, because it requires input from real consumers to identify bad customer service. We are pleased to make the WOT extension available as another line of defense for Opera users."


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RE: None of this is really surprising
By mcnabney on 1/28/2011 1:48:26 PM , Rating: 4
You don't get out of the US much. The American government is amazingly open,.... about 'most' things. Citizens in most nations already assume that they are being tracked at all times, so they don't worry about it.

Also, it is based mostly upon the fear that someone fill find out about the fetish porn that Dad checks out once mommy goes to bed...


By Shadowmaster625 on 1/28/2011 3:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
citizens in this nation assume they are being tracked at all times too. Except for the really dumb ones in the bowels of facebook.


RE: None of this is really surprising
By TSS on 1/28/2011 5:33:30 PM , Rating: 5
Open is not honest. China is probably more honest. Their violating human rights, but their not denying it, their simply telling other countries to mind their own business. Doesn't make it right, but it's not dishonest.

In the US though the government puts out a plethora of statistics about everything you want to know about the government and i doubt even a single one isn't manipulated in some way. I guess the best one would be the unemployment statistic. I hear it drops people who've been unemployed for longer then, what was is, a year? and those who've stopped looking? How is that honest? How is beeing more then 1 year unemployed, not unemployed?

Not saying there aren't countries where it's worse, but it's certainly not amongst the most honest of nations.

I agree the militairy is open though. Want to know where the next offence will be? Just watch cnn. Also agree on the porn thing, but that's kind of universally known :p

Also don't count out the fact that in some nations, prime example beeing japan, people by tradition don't question authority and are very loyal, thus less likely to distrust their government.


RE: None of this is really surprising
By mikeyD95125 on 1/29/2011 4:31:58 AM , Rating: 3
Unemployment only counts people in the labor force. If you don't want to work, or have given up looking for work, then you are not in the pool up potential labor. Therefore you are not counted as unemployed.


By chick0n on 1/29/2011 9:29:41 AM , Rating: 1
but the problem is that, he/she was unemployed in the first place, why count that person out ? Just he/she been out of the job for too long and "you think" he/she is no longer looking for one?

thats because the Economy is in total chaos. but oh wait, the government keep telling us that "its improving", my ASS. thats a big fat lie and everybody knows it.

Our government is honest? hmm yea. sure. I think we have the "worst" government. sure they're honest, they will tell you "what they think you need to know", not "what you should know"


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