Public Perceptions of Privacy and Security in the Post-Snowden Era,
by Mary Madden, Pew Research, 11/13/14
Privacy evokes a constellation of concepts for Americans—some of them tied to traditional notions of civil liberties and some of them driven by concerns about the surveillance of digital communications and the coming era of “big data.” While Americans’ associations with the topic of privacy are varied, the majority of adults in a new survey by the Pew Research Center feel that their privacy is being challenged along such core dimensions as the security of their personal information and their ability to retain confidentiality.
Perhaps most striking is Americans’ lack of confidence that they have control over their personal information. That pervasive concern applies to everyday communications channels and to the collectors of their information—both in the government and in corporations. For example:
- 91% of adults in the survey “agree” or “strongly agree” that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies.
- 88% of adults “agree” or “strongly agree” that it would be very difficult to remove inaccurate information about them online.
- 80% of those who use social networking sites say they are concerned about third parties like advertisers or businesses accessing the data they share on these sites.
- 70% of social networking site users say that they are at least somewhat concerned about the government accessing some of the information they share on social networking sites without their knowledge.