Survey Says 90 Percent of Americans Feel They Have Lost Control of Their Personal Information on the Web
- By Matt Holden
- Nov 12, 2014
More than 90 percent of Americans feel they’ve lost control over how their personal information is collected and used by companies, according to the results of a survey by the Pew Research Center. This feeling is especially true regarding how personal information is used for advertising purposes.
Eighty percent are concerned over how third parties like advertisers accessed the data they share on social media sites. The survey polled 607 adults online and is the first in a series to study American’s views toward privacy after the leaks made by Edward Snowden last year.
The majority of respondents said that people should be concerned about whether the government is listening in on their phone calls, or viewing their online communications and other sensitive data.
The findings also reflect people’s attitudes amid the increasing sophistication by which Internet companies leverage people’s data for advertising.
“It’s a bundle of concerns,” said Lee Rainie, one of Pew’s lead researchers on the project. “It’s partly surveillance, it’s partly tracking, and this generalized sense that I’m losing control of my identity and my data,” he said.
Some respondents said they have taken action to protect their privacy, but a majority agreed that achieving anonymity online is not possible.
“These findings reflect a major tension at the core of people’s relationship with the Internet,” said Joseph Turow, a professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
Matt Holden is an Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media, Inc. He received his MFA and BA in journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He currently writes and edits for Occupational Health & Safety magazine, and Security Today.