User Perceptions of Privacy and Security on the Web

Scott Flinn, Joanna Lumsden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


This paper describes an online survey that was conducted to explore typical Internet users' awareness and knowledge of specific technologies that relate to their security and privacy when using a Web browser to access the Internet. The survey was conducted using an anonymous, online questionnaire. Over a four month period, 237 individuals completed the questionnaire. Respondents were predominately Canadian, with substantial numbers from the United Kingdom and the United States. Important findings include evidence that users have tried to educate themselves regarding their online security and privacy, but with limited success; different interpretations of the term "secure Web site" can lead to very different levels of trust in a site; respondents strongly expressed their skepticism about privacy policies, but nevertheless believe that sites can be trusted to respect their stated policies; and users may confuse browser cookies with other types of data stored locally by browsers, leading to inappropriate conclusions about the risks they present.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThird annual conference on privacy, security and trust, October 12-14, 2005, The Fairmont Algonquin, St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada, Proceedings. 2005
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Event3rd annual conference on Privacy, Security and Trust - St. Andrews, Canada
Duration: 12 Oct 200514 Oct 2005


Conference3rd annual conference on Privacy, Security and Trust
Abbreviated titlePST 2005
CitySt. Andrews


  • human factors
  • privacy
  • risk
  • risk management
  • security
  • transparency
  • trust
  • usability
  • web
  • web browser
  • www


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