Trust of Net declining, report says

Thursday, 17 October 2002, 1:16 PM EST

Americans are using and enjoying the Internet more, a private research firm said Wednesday, even though they're still not entirely sure their personal information is secure.

Sixty-one percent of all Americans go online at least once a month, compared with 59 percent at the end of 2001, the Conference Board said in its quarterly report on Internet usage. The private research firm is better known for its monthly survey of consumer confidence.

The survey of about 7,000 homes, conducted with NFO WorldGroup and Forrester Research, found satisfaction levels rose across a spectrum of activities, including personal communication, shopping and game-playing.

Surprisingly, consumers' trust that their personal information - including Social Security and credit-card numbers - is safe from access by other parties fell in almost every category.

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