Year 2020 Survey: 45% Predict Total Loss of Internet Privacy

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What will the Internet – and our daily lives – look like in just nine years?

In a new Microsoft study called Internet Explorer 9: Future of the Web, more than 10,000 European Internet users shared their concerns and predictions for the Internet by the year 2020.

The study showed 45% of respondents think there will be no such thing as privacy online, making it clear that more and more people are becoming very concerned about online tracking and other intrusions on their privacy.

What were some other big fears?

  • About 60% fear that companies will track and save their every move online.
  • Cybercrime is another big concern, with 52% believing this threat will continue to rise.
  • Never being able to unplug is another big fear, with 46% thinking the Internet will take over our lives.
  • Some 27% think the Internet will know them better than their own partners.
  • Nearly 25% of respondents think people’s online personas could even become more important than their real-life identities.
  • Just 33% fear the total demise of books, newspapers, and magazines, so perhaps websites, apps, and e-readers will not make print publications entirely obsolete.
  • Finally, 38% think online stores will completely replace traditional brick-and-mortar retail shops.

According to Brian Kealy, Internet Explorer lead for Western Europe at Microsoft, the company is always thinking ahead to these privacy concerns when it develops new browser updates.

Just last week, Microsoft unveiled the second “test version” of its next web browser, Internet Explorer 10, which will accompany the new Windows 8 operating system next year. Internet Explorer 10 will add some security options for web applications and consumer privacy.

But will Internet Explorer 10 — or any fancy new web browser, for that matter — make for a more secure web?

It’s too early to tell, but at least consumers now have more options for things like opting out of what companies know about you when you travel around the Internet.

And it’s not just choosing to opt out. It’s taking other steps like using a VPN to encrypt everything done while surfing online in public wifi locations. And it’s also taking better security measures on social media sites (not everyone needs to know you’re heading out for a two-week vacation!) and updating account settings with stronger passwords.

What security steps do you take now that you didn’t take nine years ago — or even nine months ago? Do you take advantage of sites that let you opt out? What’s your prediction for how the Internet will shape our daily lives in the year 2020?

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.