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Norton Survey Reveals Consumers Are Not Taking Action to Manage Their “Digital Tattoos”

More than half of Brits Would Hit a Reset Button to Remove Their Online Presence
LONDON – April 4, 2011 – Lifting the veil to examine consumer online behaviour and its impact on individual privacy and reputation, Norton by Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) today released the findings from a survey that revealed consumers need greater education on the topic. While the majority of Brits (60%) say they are “active” in managing their reputation and the information about them that lives online, nearly one in four say they don’t know if someone has ever posted something about them online, without their consent, that could be potentially damaging to their reputation.

Nearly one in four consumer respondents have posted something online that they wouldn’t want an employer, future employer or teacher to see – most often photos or personal information. The study revealed a sense of unease among Brits around their online reputation—more than half of UK adults say they would hit the Reset button to remove all information about them online, suggesting the majority are concerned about what could be found out about them.

“The Digital Age is transforming our society by bringing us closer together. These survey findings show that, as with any major societal shift, we are in the process of adapting,” said Janice Chaffin, group president, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec. “The key will be to define the boundaries that work best for each of us so that we can enjoy the incredible benefits of being so connected while also protecting our futures.”

Key Survey Findings Include:
  • The majority of respondents believe their gender can be found online, but less than half believe their date of birth (44%) or their address (37%) can be found.
  • 27% of respondents don’t know if someone has posted something about them, without their consent, that could possibly be damaging to their reputation.
  • 40% of UK consumers do not actively protect their reputation and personal information online.
  • The two top reasons adults cite for not actively protecting their reputation or personal information online are, “I’ve never thought it was an issue” (59%) followed by, “I don’t know where to start” (20%). This is despite several high profile cases where information people have posted online has resulted in job losses and even loss of redundancy payouts
  • Nearly one in four adults have posted something online that they wouldn’t want an employer, future employer or teacher to see.
  • Adults most frequently cite posted pictures (14%) as items they would not want an employer or teacher to see.
  • More than half (51%) of adults would hit a reset button to remove all the information about them online if given the choice.
  • Half of adults in the UK post information about themselves online—of these respondents 38% actively use social networking sites to post comments about themselves online and 29% use social networking sites to post photos of themselves online.
  • Over one third (35%) of adults say they could not run for political office given what they think is available about them online.
Tips for managing your online reputation:

1) Take inventory
  • Conduct a comprehensive search using all names you’ve used on public records and online. Use a few different search engines to ensure you are catching as much as possible.
  • Use the “image” and “blog” search functions offered by some search engines to ensure that you also uncover photos or commentary that may have been posted about you.
  • Look carefully for any comments, tagged photos or videos, messages or invitations that you wouldn’t want made broadly public.
  • If you have a common name and find that your name returns results for other people, consider adding a middle initial to your online posts and information to avoid being mistaken for someone else
2) Decide what is private
  • Political beliefs, religion and charitable causes can be quite subjective. Think about your comfort level with sharing this information broadly, particularly with potential employers, business partners, or college admissions departments.
  • Never post photos or information that you wouldn’t want to be seen by a prospective school, employer, or even a blogger/journalist.
  • Do not rely on default privacy settings. Review the privacy controls offered by the social networking sites you use and determine what’s right for you. These controls are still evolving and providing more choices. Continue evaluating them over time.
3) Be vigilant!
  • Periodically scrutinize your online identity, your digital tattoo, to ensure that your public information reflects your personal and professional strengths. Take action to remove negative or inaccurate items.
  • Regularly evaluate the social networks and online services that you actively use. Cancel the ones you don’t.
  • Regularly review the lists of people you’re connected to online.  Keep your lists of friends, linked organizations and associations current and ensure you’re happy with your connections.
Survey Methodology
This study was conducted by StrategyOne, an independent market research firm, among adults age 18 years and older in the US, UK, France and Germany. 1,021 respondents from the US were surveyed from March 3-4, 2011; 1,004 respondents from the UK were surveyed from March 4-9, 2011; 1,001 respondents from France were surveyed from March 4-9, 2011; 1,000 respondents from Germany were surveyed from March 4-9, 2011. Full survey results are available on request.

About StrategyOne
StrategyOne, a Daniel J. Edelman company, employs custom public opinion research and secondary research methodologies to deliver strategic counsel to corporate, organizational and governmental clients globally. With offices in Atlanta, Chicago, London, New York, Paris, San Mateo, Washington, D.C., and Abu Dhabi, StrategyOne provides global clients with evidence based stakeholder insights, analysis and measurement. Visit www.strategyone.net for more information.

About Norton by Symantec
Symantec’s Norton products protect consumers from cybercrime with technologies like antivirus, anti-spyware and phishing protection -- while also being light on system resources.  The company also provides services such as online backup, PC tuneup, and family online safety.  Like Norton on Facebook at www.facebook.com/norton and follow @NortonOnline on Twitter.

About Symantec
Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world.  Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.


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