Statistics

Why Should You Care about Online Privacy?

Protecting privacy and preventing cyber abuse should matter to you!  Invasions of privacy have become an increasingly problem, impacting millions of Americans.  Below are a sampling of reports that highlight the problem.

INTERNET CRIME REPORT, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (2014)

  • In 2014, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received 269,422 Internet related. The adjusted dollar loss from the accumulated complaints came to $800,492,073.
  • According to the FBI, only an estimated 15 percent of the nation’s fraud victims report their crimes to law enforcement and less than 10 percent of victims file complaints with IC3.
  • Of the complaints received in 2014, 12% had a social media component. According to FBI, complaints involving social media have quadrupled over the last five years.

NONCONSENSUAL IMAGE SHARING: ONE IN 25 AMERICANS HAS BEEN A VICTIM OF “REVENGE PORN”, DATA & SOCIETY (December 13, 2016)

  • 3% of all online Americans have had someone threaten to post nude or nearly nude photos or videos of hem online to hurt or embarrass them.
  • 2% of online Americans have had someone actually post a photo of them online without their permission.
  • In total, 4% of internet users – one in 25 online Americans – have either had sensitive images posted without their permission or had someone threaten to post photos of them.”
  • Young people ages 15-29 are most likely to report being threatened with the potential sharing of nude or nearly nude image, with one in 14 (7%) internet users under the age of 30 experiencing this compared with 2% of adults ages 30 and older.
  • Among lesbian, gay or bisexual internet users, 15% say someone has threatened to share a nude or nearly-nude photo or video of them without their permission, a far higher rate than among heterosexual internet users (2%).
  • In addition, 7% of LGB respondents have had someone share a nude or nearly nude image of them, compared with 2% of heterosexual internet users.
  • All together, 17% of LGB Americans have either had an image shared without their consent or have had someone threatened to share an image of them.

CYBER HARASSMENT, DIGITAL ABUSE, AND CYBER STALKING, DATA & SOCIETY (November 21, 2016)

  • 47% of Americans have personally experienced either direct harassment, invasion of privacy or denial of access.
  • 27% say they have at some point decided not to post content online for fear of attracting unwanted harassment.
  • Of victims of online harassment, 65% have either changed their contact information, asked for help from a friend or family member, law enforcement or domestic violence resources, flagged content that was posted without their permission or disconnected from social media, the Internet or their cell phone.
  • 40% of victims say they experienced either trouble in a relationship or friendship or felt more isolation or disconnectedness as a result of online harassment.

ONLINE HARASSMENT, PEW RESEARCH CENTER (October 22, 2014)

  • 73% of adult Internet users have seen someone be harassed in some way online and 40% have personally experienced it.
  • Those who personally experienced online harassment said they were the target of at least one of the following online:
    • 27% of internet users have been called offensive names
    • 22% have someone try to purposefully embarrass them
    • 8% have been physically threatened
    • 8% have been stalked
    • 7% have been harassed for a sustained period
    • 6% have been sexually harassed
  • 65% of young Internet users (those 18-29) have been the target of at least one of the six elements of harassment that were queried in the survey. Among those 18-24, the proportion was 70%.
  • Young women (those 18-24) experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26% of these young women have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment.
  • Those whose lives are especially entwined with the Internet report experiencing higher rates of harassment online. This includes those who have more information available about them online, those who promote themselves online for their job, and those who work in the digital technology industry.
  • 15% of those who have experienced online harassment said it impacted their reputation.

The statistics establish that online abuse is pervasive and is becoming an increasing problem, especially with young adults.  If you have not been touched by an online privacy violation, it is likely that you will eventually be impacted, whether personally or through a friend or family member.  It is also deeply disconcerting that the Internet is being weaponized to destroy reputations, to embarrass and to push individuals’ offline.  If action is not taken, the benefits derived from the Internet could be overwhelmed by its ability to abuse.  It is time to treat online privacy as the priority it should be.