Press Release
2 University Plaza, Suite 414
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Phone: 201-996-1154 FAX: 201-996-1883

For Immediate Release
Press Contact:
Irene Oujo (201) 996-1154


Sixty percent representing 120 million consumers say they decided not to do business with a company because they were not sure of its privacy policies.

August 12 , 2004//Hackensack, NJ: Consumers taking privacy-assertive actions are up almost 30% since 1999, according to the latest Consumer Privacy Activism Survey commissioned by Privacy & American Business (P&AB) and fielded by Harris Interactive. These survey findings link the privacy concerns consumers are expressing with real consumer actions. Companies should be aware that:

Online Consumers Taking Privacy Actions, Too
The 2004 survey asked respondents who identified themselves as online users if they have ever decided not to register at a website because they found the privacy policy presented there to be too complicated or unclear. Sixty-five percent said yes, representing over 94 million U.S. adult online users.

What the Findings Tell Us
"These findings demonstrate that instead of having been dampened by the enactment and enforcement of new federal or state privacy laws like GLB, HIPAA, and the many anti-ID Theft laws that states currently have on the books American consumers are taking privacy protection into their own hands," said Dr. Alan Westin, President & Publisher of P&AB; and Academic Advisor to this survey. "American consumer privacy activism in 2004 has risen substantially in 4 of the 5 behaviors that were already at majority levels in 1999," he continued.

Role of U.S. Business
Dr. Westin directed his comments to Corporate Privacy Officers and thoughtful corporate leaders who he said should be communicating these survey results to the marketing and online business staffs, and all other departments that handle and make decisions about how consumer information is used within their organizations.

He said that smart companies recognize this growing consumer trend and are moving from target marketing into permission or consensual marketing programs. Further, many are offering meaningful privacy choices, and are effectively carrying them out. The survey results show that companies that do not follow suit risk losing customers.

"Companies should consider collecting Privacy Activism readings of their own customers," Dr. Westin advised. "They should probe how their own customers feel about the firms present privacy policies and new information-collection and marketing campaigns the company is considering."

The full survey article is available in the latest issue of Privacy & American Business. For your copy or to subscribe, contact Irene Oujo at or visit

About Privacy & American Business
Privacy & American Business (,, &, is an activity of the Center for Social & Legal Research, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy think tank exploring U.S. and global issues of consumer and employee privacy and data protection for business since its launch in 1993.

Always on the cutting edge, P&AB was the first to chart and analyze the rise of privacy from a second-tier concern to a front-burner issue and to provide opportunities in its programs and meetings to assist businesses in understanding the privacy environment as it is evolving. P&AB, a pioneer in recognizing the rise of the Corporate Privacy Officer (CPO), was the first to open its CPO Program in 1999.

The Center and all its activities are led by Dr. Alan Westin, Professor of Public Law & Government Emeritus, Columbia University, and President and Publisher of P&AB; Robert Belair, Partner at Oldaker, Biden & Belair and P&ABŐs Vice President; and Lorrie Sherwood, P&ABŐs Executive Director.