Friday, January 30, 2009

PEW Internet Study: Online Generation Gap Narrowing

The PEW Internet and American Life project released a report this week on Generations Online in 2009. The study shows that while over half of the adult internet population is between 18 and 44 years old, larger percentages of older generations are online now than in the past, and they are doing more activities online, according to surveys taken from 2006-2008.

Contrary to the image of Generation Y (born between 1977-1990) as the "Net Generation," internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life.

Among the key findings:

  • Generation X (born 1965-1976), is the most likely group to bank, shop, and look for health information online.
  • Boomers (born 1946 - 1964) are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online.
  • Silent Generation internet users (born 1937-1945) are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people).

The most dramatic increase in internet use can be seen in the 70-75 year-old age group. While just over one-fourth (26%) of 70-75 year olds were online in 2005, 45% of that age group is currently online.

Photo by: max_thinks_sees

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Data Privacy Day 2009: Raising awareness

January 28th marks the 2nd annual international data privacy day in Canada, the U.S. and 27 European countries. The purpose of the event is to "raise awareness and generate discussion about data privacy practices and rights." It also serves the important purpose of furthering international collaboration and cooperation around privacy issues.

This year's data privacy day comes on the heels of what may have been the largest breach ever reported, with the personal information of nearly 100 million exposed at a U.S.-based credit card processing firm. Hackers breached the computer network at Heartland Payment Systems Inc., exposing customers' credit card numbers, card expiration dates and some internal bank codes - all information that could be used to forge a credit card. The company handles 100 million card transactions for 250,000 businesses nationwide each month.

The scale of the breach is “shocking,” says Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

“After what we saw at TJX, that you could have such a major data breach, I'm asking myself what is happening and what is not getting through to organizations?” she says. “You should always take the steps to make sure there is suitable protection.”

As this most recent breach demonstrates, there is still much work to be done to raise awareness about data privacy.