Lost privacy: More than half of adults would 'delete everything they have ever posted about themselves online'

By Graham Smith
Last updated at 2:58 PM on 18th April 2011

More than half of British adults are so concerned about their online reputation they would erase everything they have ever posted on the Internet about themselves, a survey today revealed. A staggering 35 per cent believe they could never consider a career in politics due to damaging personal material online.

And nearly a quarter of people admit to having posted a photo or personal information that they wouldn't want an employer to see, according to a study by security firm Norton. Sherly Seitz, an Internet security expert at Norton, said: 'Were posting more personal information online than ever before but our attitude to privacy still seems lax.

'Once a message or an image is out there, its very difficult to contain or take back. In other words, think before you post.

'In the last year or two, the emergence of smartphones and tablets in the mainstream market has ushered in a culture of hyper-connectivity and constant sharing. 'We all want to embrace the latest technology, but consumers should stay mindful of the dangers, both personal and professional, of sharing too much and too openly online.

Researchers questioned 1,004 people aged 18 and over about the amount of their personal information that is publicly available online and how it could affect them personally. The study reveals a sense of unease among Britons about their online reputation, with over 50 per cent saying they would gladly hit the 'reset' button to delete all information about them online.

Some 40 per cent admitted to not actively protecting their reputation and personal information on the Internet. Of these, 59 per cent 'never thought it was an issue', while 20 per cent wouldn't know where to start.

While some are cavalier about their online profiles, others worry that friends might inadvertently ruin their future prospects.
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