London — A study commissioned by Outlook.com found that more than 8 in 10 UK residents (84%) disapprove of email service providers scanning personal emails in order to target users with online advertisements. In addition, the survey showed that 84% of email users do not think email service providers should be allowed to scan the content of personal emails to target online ads.
The publicly-released research also found that 64% of UK residents were unaware of any email service provider scanning emails to target them with ads. More than nine in ten (93%) email users agreed that they should have the option to “opt-out” of having their emails scanned for the purpose of delivering relevant ads. This telephone study was conducted by the global independent market research company GfK from October 18th through 23rd, 2013, among 1,000 adults age 16 or older from across the UK.
Annie Weber, Executive Vice President of GfK’s Public Affairs & Corporate Communications division noted, “The polling indicates that overall many British residents are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the idea of email service providers scanning words in emails for the purpose of targeting advertising. At a time when digital privacy is increasingly concerning the public, this survey suggests that service providers need to work hard to ensure email users understand the specifics of how their personal content is being used, and the underlying reasons for these practices which will result in a more informed and educated user.”
Links to the full survey can be found here.
Key results from this survey include:
- 84% of people in the UK disapprove of email service providers scanning the content of their personal emails in order to target ads and 55% disapprove strongly.
- 84% of people in the UK agree that email service providers should not be allowed to scan the content of personal emails in order to target ads.
- 83% of people in the UK agree that email service providers scanning the content of their personal emails to target ads is an invasion of privacy.
- 64% of people in the UK are unaware whether any major email service provider scans the content of personal emails in order to target ads.
- 93% of email users believe that email service providers should allow users to “opt-out” if they prefer that the content of their emails not be scanned in order to target ads.
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About this study: The RDD telephone survey was conducted October 18 to 23, 2013 in the United Kingdom by GfK’s Public Affairs & Corporate Communications division, among a nationally-representative sample of 1,000 adults age 16 or older. All the interviews were conducted via landlines. The data were weighted on age, sex, class and standard region. The margin of error on results based on the full sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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GfK’s Public Affairs & Corporate Communications division specializes in customized public affairs and public opinion polling, communications research, and reputation measurement globally. The division also serves as the official polling partner of the Associated Press conducting the AP-GfK Poll
For further information about GfK, visit our website: www.gfk.com