Nine-in-Ten Americans have Concerns Over Who Controls the Data About Them

by Istvan Fekete on May 22, 2015

A federal appeals court recently ruled against the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, saying that it illegally collects Americans’ phone records. The judge handing down the ruling said that “such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans.” So, what are Americans’ views on privacy and surveillance? Pew Research Center has some answers.

Two surveys published this week concluded that Americans feel privacy is important in their daily lives in a number of essential ways, yet they have a “pervasive sense that they are under surveillance when in public”, and very few feel in control of the data that is collected about them and how it is used.

According to the Pew study, 93% of adults say that being in control of who can get information about them is important; 74% feel this is “very important”, while 19% say it is “somewhat important”. In addition, 90% say that controlling what information is collected about them is important – 65% think it is “very important”, and 25% say it is “somewhat important”.

Considering the above, it’s a no-brainer that Americans do not wish to be observed without their approval: 88% say it is important that they not have someone watch or listen to them without their permission (67% feel this is “very important”, and 20% say it is “somewhat important”).

Finally, Americans have little confidence that their data will remain private and secure, as 76% of adults say they are not confident that records of their activity maintained by the online advertisers who place ads on the websites they visit will remain private and secure, and 69% of adults say they are not confident that records of their activity maintained by the social media sites they use will remain private and secure.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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