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Consumers trust HP, IBM, and Amazon most with personal information

29 Jan 2013
A padlock key on a keyboard representing IT security

Research firm Ponemon Institute has ranked HP, IBM, and Amazon in the top five most trustworthy companies, based on consumer feedback.

The Most Trusted Companies for Privacy Study ranks the top 20 most trusted businesses according to consumers. Eight of this year's top ranked firms come from the technology sector.

Along with the rankings, Ponemon discovered growing trends for consumer privacy preferences.

"We believe this research provides an unambiguous measure of how consumers perceive the privacy and personal data protection practices of specific organizations," wrote Ponemon in the study.

"While perception is not a perfect substitute for reality, in our experience this aggregated consumer view is an important indicator."

Survey participants ranked HP as the second most trusted company for privacy issues. Amazon came in third and IBM came in fourth on Ponemon's list.

New to the top 20 this year was Microsoft and Mozilla. Microsoft joined the ranks at 17, while Mozilla rounded out the list at number 20.

Despite the reported trust in major corporations, many survey respondents don't feel they have control over their personal information. Out of those surveyed, only 35 percent said they feel they have control over their personal information.

According to the study, participants don't rely on privacy polices when considering the trustworthiness of a company. Almost 60 percent of respondents said they do this because privacy policies are too long or contain an excessive amount of legal jargon.

Ponemon found that 63 percent of respondents admit to sharing data with companies they do not trust. About 60 percent of those respondents say they take part in this risky behaviour because of the convenience of making online purchases.

About 59 percent of respondents told Ponemon that they feel tools like social media and smartphones reduce their expectations of privacy. Another 59 percent said they think government interference diminishes their online privacy.

Ponemon's study comes as companies continue to extend their privacy polices. Twitter and Google recently released their transparency reports. Facebook also recently unveiled updates to its privacy polices following a government investigation into the companies practices.

The study comes from over 6,700 survey responses. Ponemon conducted their study over a 15-week period late last year.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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