Web Privacy Worries Growing: Study

Pew study finds half of American internet users are concerned about the information available about them online

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Peter Foley / EPA

Who is watching? A man seen through computer monitors on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Americans share more personal information online than ever — however, they also want more control over who sees it, according to a study released by Pew Research Center on Thursday.

Whereas only 33% worried about the information available about them on the web in 2009, that concern now applies to half of the people surveyed. Furthermore, 86% have tried to conceal their online activity by measures such as clearing cookies or using encryption.

Reasons for doing so, however, vary. About one-third said they intended to avoid hackers and criminals, somewhat fewer wanted to block advertisers. Others mentioned wanting to keep information private from family members, employers or the government.