Social networks did not inspire confidence in a new study from Pew Research Center, as 69 percent of respondents said they were not confident that records of their activities would remain private and secure.
Online video sites did not fare much better, at 66 percent.
Other findings by Pew included:
- 50 percent of respondents believe online advertisers who place ads on websites they visit should not save records or archives of their activity for any length of time.
- 76 percent were “not too confident” or “not at all confident” that records of their activities retained by online advertisers would be kept private and secure.
- 44 percent said the same of online video sites, while 40 percent did so for social media sites and search engines.
- 55 percent of respondents support online anonymity for certain activities, while 16 percent do not and 27 percent did not know.
- Men were more likely to support online anonymity than women, 61 percent to 49 percent, while college-educated respondents were more likely to do so than those who did not attend college, at 66 percent versus 40 percent.
- 93 percent of respondents believe being in control over who can access information about them is important.
- 90 percent said controlling what information is being collected about them is important.
- When asked how much control they have over information collected about them and its use, 9 percent answered “a lot,” 38 percent “some control,” 37 percent “not much control” and 13 percent “no control at all.”
- Only 6 percent were “very confident” that government agencies could keep their records private and secure, while 25 percent were “somewhat confident.”
- The numbers for landline telephone companies were identical to those for government agencies.
- For credit-card companies, 9 percent of respondents said they were very confident that their data would remain private and secure, while 29 percent answered that they were somewhat confident.
Pew Research Center senior researcher Mary Madden said in a release announcing the results:
In the almost two years that have passed since the initial Snowden (former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden) revelations, the public has been awash in news stories detailing security breaches at major retailers, health insurance companies and financial institutions. These events and the doubts they have inspired have contributed to a cloud of personal “data insecurity” that now looms over many Americans’ daily decisions and activities. Many find these developments deeply troubling and want limits put in place, while some do not feel these issues affect them personally.
Readers: What did you think of Pew’s findings?