Only 5% of Americans Unaware of Government Surveillance Programs in Post-Snowden Era

Only 5% of Americans Unaware of Government Surveillance Programs in Post-Snowden Era

More than 90 percent of Americans feel that they as consumers have lost control over how their personal information is collected and used by companies and the government.

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This article originally appeared at The WHIR

More than 90 percent of Americans feel that they as consumers have lost control over how their personal information is collected and used by companies and the government. According to a study released by Pew Internet on Wednesday, American citizens feel very insecure sharing information via social media, text messages, email, or even using a landline, in the post-Snowden era.

The study is the first in a series that examines Americans’ perceptions of privacy online following the revelations about the US government surveillance that came to light last year. The data is based on a survey conducted last January among a sample of 607 adults in the US.

Only five percent of adults that participated in the survey had never heard of the government surveillance programs, and 43 percent have heard a lot about the programs. Most respondents, 44 percent, had heard at least a little bit about the government surveillance.

While the government has been adamant that the data collection is used to protect the US from terrorist attacks and other threats, a report by the Washington Post in July showed that among the legitimate data collection there was also collection of data belonging to ordinary US and non-US citizens that included “startlingly intimate”- and irrelevant – data.

According to Pew, 88 percent of adults believe that it would be hard to remove inaccurate information about them online, despite efforts from government to regulate requests from online users for removing inaccurate results from search engines.

Beyond concerns about government surveillance, there are also worries about unsolicited data collection from third-parties. Eighty percent of respondents who use social networking sites said they are concerned about the data they share on social media being collected by advertisers or businesses.

According to the survey, 64 percent of Americans believe the government should do more to regulate advertisers, while 34 percent think the government should not get more involved.

Freedom online does have a price, however, with 55 percent of respondents willing to share some information about themselves with companies in order to use online services for free.

The majority of American adults (61 percent) believe that they could do more to protect their data online, while 37 percent believe they already do enough.

This article originally appeared at: http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/americans-hesitant-share-info-online-privacy-concerns-escalate-post-snowden-era

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