Microsoft has commissioned research into people's online privacy perceptions and expectations, as privacy continues to dominate online activity across the world.
Marking Data Privacy Day, the software giant says the public needs more information about their security options to help control their personal details online.
"Privacy is increasingly top of mind for people around the world as online activities have become a central part of daily life," says Brendon Lynch, chief privacy officer, Microsoft.
Results of Microsoft's research shows:
* 45 percent of respondents said they feel they have little or no control over the personal information companies gather about them while they are browsing the Web or using online services, such as photo-sharing, travel or gaming.
* Only four in 10 said they feel they totally or mostly understand how to protect their online privacy.
* An equal number of people (39 percent) said they are turning to friends and family, as well as privacy statements, as their top source for privacy information.
* A third of those surveyed (32 percent) said they are paying attention to companies’ privacy reputations, track records, and policies when choosing which websites to visit or services to use.
"What exactly do these findings mean and how can they be put to use" Lynch says.
"We already know our customers want and expect strong privacy protections to be built into our products, devices and services, and for companies to be responsible stewards of consumers’ data.
"We’ve been focused on this area for more than 10 years as part of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft. But, that’s just the start.
"People also need more information about their privacy options and help controlling their personal information online.
"As part of our longstanding commitment to privacy, we’re kicking off a new video series called “Privacy in Action.”
"These videos, which will be available at www.microsoft.com/yourprivacy, illustrate many of the privacy options in Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Microsoft’s Personal Data Dashboard (where customers can make choices about how Microsoft uses their data).
"Our activities this Data Privacy Day are just the latest examples of how we take our privacy responsibilities seriously and put people first."
What are your perceptions of privacy concerns online? Tell us your thoughts below