MILLIONS risk their online privacy by not reading cookies and terms and conditions.
A poll of 2,000 UK adults found more than one in three (36 per cent) admit to rarely or never reading Ts and Cs online before accepting them.
And of those who do, 38 per cent spend a mere 30 seconds or less scanning through.
Nearly a third (31 per cent) simply can’t be bothered to read the small print, while 26 per cent claim they do not have the time.
It also emerged 85 per cent have accepted cookies on a website without reading the policies or making any changes, and 62 per cent will accept despite not knowing what they are agreeing to.
The research was commissioned by Avast, which has teamed up with baking star Prue Leith to help educate internet users about digital cookies.
She has created a limited run of her chocolate chip cookies, which are free for people to order online, which come with hints, tips and tricks on how to navigate the digital kind of cookies.
Prue Leith said: “While recent times have highlighted the importance of being connected online, it’s also never been more important for people to feel safe while doing so.
“Many people of all ages, but particularly of my generation, are not as familiar with certain aspects of the internet and this of course includes digital cookies.
“This can prove to be a barrier to embracing everything that being online has to offer so I am absolutely delighted to be working with Avast to help people understand what cookies are and how they work.”
The survey also found half (50 per cent) of adults are ‘fed up’ of being asked to accept cookies when landing on a web page.
Although, 30 per cent find it helpful that cookies remember information such as passwords and preferences.
But 29 per cent are confused by cookie policies, and 70 per cent even believe websites intentionally try to confuse them with the language they use.
As a result, three-quarters (75 per cent) think internet users need to be better educated on what is included in cookie policies.
It also emerged 37 per cent of respondents surveyed via OnePoll have accepted ‘terms and conditions’ or ‘cookies’, only to later discover they had agreed to something they wish they hadn’t.
While 69 per cent worry about their online privacy being at risk, and four in 10 think it is easier now for websites to capture your personal data.
Jaya Baloo, chief information security officer at Avast, said: “Avast believes online privacy and digital freedom are a fundamental human right.
“The internet is, however, often complex and difficult to navigate due to confusing terminology and functionality.
“Our research clearly demonstrates that many people do not really understand cookies, how they work, and what implications they have.
“By being educated and informed about how digital cookies and online terms and conditions work, users can take the necessary steps to enjoy a better online experience and embrace everything the internet has to offer without worries around privacy and tracking.”
To find out more about the campaign and to nominate someone you think could benefit from a free box of Prue Leith’s cookies, complete with internet tips, head to https://blog.avast.com/acceptallcookies
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