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Irene Oujo (201) 996-1154

For Immediate Release


Consumer privacy products represent $2.5 billion market value

June 30, 2003//Hackensack, NJ One in six Americans say they have bought a privacy product to avoid identity theft, check their credit report, or surf or shop online anonymously, according to a new survey commissioned by Privacy & American Business (P&AB) and conducted by Harris Interactive.

These figures represent a privacy product market value of approximately $2.5 billion (Credit check and identity theft protection products range from $69.99 to $119.99 annually and anonymizers range from $50 to $100 annually for an average privacy product price of $75).

New Privacy Self-Help Consumers

While heavy majorities of the American public, in the 80% ranges, say they are concerned about their consumer privacy today, these 33.4 million are the ones taking active steps to protect their privacy, said Dr. Alan Westin, Columbia University Professor, President and Publisher, P&AB. These are what I call the new privacy self-help consumers.

Broad Consumer Base for Privacy Products

P&ABs survey found that roughly the same number of these new privacy self-help consumers run the demographic gamut: black, white, and Hispanic; Republican and Democrat; conservative, moderate, and liberal; and from all regions across the U.S. and both off and online.

Dr. Westin noted, The broad diversity of consumers buying privacy self-help products reflects the reality that privacy is a concern shared today by consumers regardless of race, political party affiliation, ideology and whether they go on the Internet or not. And, in terms of seeking protection against misuses of consumer personal information, self-help is strongest (8 million buyers) among the 33 million American adults who say they have been victims of identity theft with 25% of them buying these products.

Buying By Gender, Age, Income, and Education

Men say they buy privacy products more often than women (19% to 13%). People between the ages of 35 and 64 buy more often than those under 25 and over 65. Those earning more than $35,000 say they have bought more often than those earning under $35,000. And, respondents with higher levels of education say they have bought more often than those with a high school diploma or less.

Buyers In Businesses and Advocacy Organizations

Compared to the 16% of privacy product buyers in the general public, more than one third (36%) of ACLU members have bought privacy products, and almost one fourth (24%) of subscribers to Consumer Reports. Among customers of businesses, one third of IBM customers (32%) have bought privacy products, 27% of Chase/J.P. Morgan and Merrill Lynch patrons, 23% of American Express cardholders, 26% of Intuit product buyers, 26% of Fidelity customers, and 24% of Earthlink Internet subscribers.

Full Report in Late-July

The complete survey report, and a P&AB Electronic Newsletter special issue on ID theft will be released in late-July. Contact Irene Oujo at with any questions.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online May 19-27, 2003 by Harris Interactive. Commissioned by Privacy & American Business, 3,462 U.S. adults 18 and older were interviewed. Each 1% represents approximately 2.09 million people. Figures for age, sex, race, education and number of adults in the household were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust the online-user-population results to reflect the full U.S. adult population, both online and not online.

In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus two percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. There are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (non-response), question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. This online survey is not a probability sample.

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 since its launch in 1993.

Always on the cutting edge, P&AB was the first to chart and analyze for business the rise of privacy from a second-tier concern to a front-burner issue and to provide opportunities in 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&ABs Vice President; and Lorrie Sherwood, P&ABs Executive Director.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive ( is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll, and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, U.S.A., Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. The company conducts international research through wholly owned subsidiaries London-based HI Europe ( and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan, as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of local market-and opinion-research firms, and various U.S. offices. EOE M/F/D/V