After the onslaught of privacy and surveillance concerns incited by National Security Agency surveillance, Americans clearly have trust issues with the federal government.
Just 6 percent of Americans say they’re “very confident” records maintained by federal agencies will be kept private and secure, according to a Pew Research Center survey published Wednesday.
But it could be much worse.
Only 3 percent of respondents said they had similar confidence in their email providers; 2 percent in search engines and just 1 percent in social media sites and online advertisers.
Of 11 categories in the study, Americans were most confident in their credit card companies to safeguard their data, according to the survey.
Despite growing concerns over online privacy, 91 percent of those polled in another Pew survey, whose results were published in this same report, said they hadn’t cut back on their Internet or cellphone use to avoid being tracked.
Still, many respondents said they had taken some routine steps to increase their online privacy, such as clearing cookies or not providing extraneous personal information, according to the study.
“These activities were not necessarily in direct response to news of government monitoring programs, but, rather, represent a set of measures that respondents may have engaged in out of broader concerns about their personal info,” the report stated.
The survey also turned up differing views about how long companies should be allowed to retain users’ data. They key factor: awareness of government surveillance.
The more aware respondents were with government surveillance, the stronger their views were about data retention limits.
For those individuals who said they had heard “a lot” about government surveillance, more than half of them also said social media sites shouldn’t save any information about their activity. But of those who said they had heard “a little” about government surveillance,” only about one-third said they felt the same way.
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