How many Americans think their personal data is safe and secure? As it turns out, almost none. The vast majority of Americans feel they've lost control over how their personal information is collected and used by companies, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.
In addition, more than half are concerned about the government's policies of monitoring phone calls and Internet communication. The research, released Wednesday, was conducted by Pew’s Internet Project. It focuses on how Americans view privacy and online behavior a year after Edward Snowden revealed the extent of U.S. government surveillance programs.
The survey was taken from the responses of 607 adults who are members of the GfK Knowledge Panel, a large-scale online panel based on a representative random sample of the United States population.
Lack of Confidence
The Pew survey finds that 91 percent of those on the panel either agree or strongly agree that consumers have lost control. About 80 percent agree or strongly agree that Americans should be concerned about the government's monitoring of their communications.
"Perhaps most striking is Americans’ lack of confidence that they have control over their personal information," according to a summary of the results. "That pervasive concern applies to everyday communications channels and to the collectors of their information -- both in the government and in corporations." Landlines, cell phones, e-mail, text messages, chat and social media were not considered "very secure" by a majority of respondents.
Other findings from the survey include: 88 percent of adults agree or strongly agree that it would be very difficult to remove inaccurate information about them online; 80 percent of those who use social networking sites say they are concerned about access to their data being given to third parties such as advertisers or businesses; 70 percent of those who use social networking sites are at least somewhat concerned about the government having access to the information they share there.
Landlines Most Trusted
When it comes to phone communications, landlines are seen as most secure -- 16 percent of respondents rate the old-fashion mode of telephony as "very secure." Only 9 percent say cell phones are very secure; 7 percent text messages; 5 percent e-mails; 4 percent chat; and only 2 percent say social media is very secure.
A healthy majority (61 percent) of survey participants also don't buy the idea that collecting their personal data helps companies serve them more efficiently.
One perhaps unexpected finding is that concern over privacy is more predominant among younger users. Thirty-two percent of young adults between 18 and 29 say they have asked to correct or remove information about them online, as compared with 17 percent of people between 30 and 49.
Image credit: iStock/Artist's concept.
Posted: 2014-11-13 @ 5:44am PT
Call me old fashioned but I'm really less concerned with government monitoring - guess I don't have much to hide - and way more concerned with corporate info grabbing that I'm convinced they use to exercise price discrimination and other predatory tactics, and that frankly they could care less about making my internet using experience more efficient.