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Paying for privacy

A new study from Carnegie Mellon University finds that Internet users will gladly pay a premium for online privacy. Users were given the opportunity to purchase the same items from different websites that displayed varying privacy policies. On average, the test subjects were willing to pay 60 cents more on a $15 purchase if they felt a site’s privacy policy matched their needs.

Meanwhile, according to a new report on Internet security, Internet users are growing more and more fearful of online crime and are adjusting their online behavior accordingly, visiting fewer sites, avoiding online banking, and spending less money online.

Despite mounting evidence that cyber warfare tactics are already part of the arsenals of countries like Russia and China, the United States has not made Internet defense a major priority. In the wake of the recent cyber attack on Estonia, American defense officials are concerned that because of a lack of coordination, funding, and centralized authority the US may be at even greater risk of mass disruptions of banking, telecommunications, and government services.

Crime novelist Patricia Cornwall is trying to stop a cyber-stalker she claims is posting false rumors about her on the Internet. The man has made no specific threats, but Cornwell has gotten a Massachusetts judge to order the attacks removed from the Internet. Since the man claims to live in Belgium, however, the judge’s order may not be enforceable.