Americans leery of online privacy in post-Snowden era: Pew

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans believe their privacy is being challenged and that they are losing the ability to secure their personal information.

what-comes-to-mind-when-you-hear-the-word-privacy
Via Pew Research

Ever since NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden began unleashing details of US government surveillance programs, Americans have become increasingly worried about both the government and businesses tracking them online.

That’s according to a study published today by the Pew Research Center, which found that a majority of Americans believe their privacy is being challenged and that they are losing the ability to secure their personal information and retain confidentiality.

The survey, which was conducted in January, found that roughly 8 in 10 adults are concerned about the government’s monitoring of phone calls and Internet communications, while some 91 percent of adults feel like they’ve lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies.

Social media is no better, as 80 percent of adults say they are worried about the access that advertisers and other companies have to their personal data. Seventy percent of respondents said they worried that government agencies might access and track personal information about them on social networking sites.

But here exists the paradox: More than half of respondents said they were willing to share their personal information in order to use online services for free, even though distrust in advertisers remains widespread. 

As for the impact that the Snowden revelations have had on how Americans perceive their privacy, it seems as though the more people know, the more distrust they tend to have.

"Americans' lack of confidence in core communications channels tracks closely with how much they have heard about government surveillance program," the Pew report stated.

Yet in spite of the overall public concern about government surveillance, 64 percent believe the government should do more to regulate advertisers' access to their data online.

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