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Caught in the NET: A Survey of Washington State Residents 18+ About Online Use and Safety

The rate of household computer ownership in the state of Washington is among the highest in the country. This survey gauges the level of concern among residents age 18+ about providing personal information over the Internet, their knowledge of various ways in which that information and their own computers can be accessed by others using malware (malicious software), and what they are doing to protect themselves.

The survey found that...

  • 71 percent of respondents own a computer or laptop, access the Internet at least once a day and have personal email accounts
  • 92 percent are concerned about providing personal information over the Internet

Among those using the Internet...

  • 74 percent don't know that having a privacy policy does not necessarily prevent website operators from sharing customers' personal information with others
  • 45 percent report receiving phishing email that attempts to illegitimately illicit their personal information and 89 percent have received SPAM emails
  • 46 percent of computer owners have found spyware – and 38 percent have discovered viruses or worms – on their computers

The telephone survey of 800 age 18+ Washington residents was conducted between February 20th and March 15th, 2006 by Alan Newman Research, Inc. Further information may be obtained from the report's author, Jennifer H. Sauer of AARP Knowledge Management at 202-434-6207. (36 pages)

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