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UK adults less concerned over internet despite privacy risks

Levels of concern about the internet have fallen substantially in the UK over the past six years, however some users are still willing to take risks over their internet security and privacy settings, new research by Ofcom reveals.

The fall in concern comes as people are spending more time on the internet. The internet is increasingly part of people’s everyday lives wherever they are, and eight in ten adults (79 percent) now go online on any device in any location – up by 20 percentage points compared to 2005.

Social networking is continuing to grow in popularity and three fifths of adult internet users (59 percent) say they now have a profile on a social networking site.

However, while internet usage and social networking is becoming commonplace, some users are still willing to take risks online. A quarter of social networkers (26 percent) in the UK say their personal information, such as their date of birth or hometown, can potentially be seen by people they do not know.

Furthermore, about one in six users (16 per cent) of social networking sites say they share their contact details with anyone or friends of friends. Three in five (61 per cent) only allow their friends to view their contact details, and a further 13 per cent say they don’t have this information on their profile.

According to Ofcom, the research also finds that while most users are aware of terms and conditions and privacy statements on websites, one in four (24 per cent) say they never actually read them which obviously increases the risks online.