Americans worry that the government spies on them online
Edward Snowden revealed the extent to which U.S. intelligence agencies spy on citizens. Since that time, Americans have worried about the government tracking their personal and business activities online.
Americans worry about online privacy
The Pew Research center found that the majority of Americans believe their privacy is being compromised because of the government's spy initiatives and ability to gather personal information, reported ZDNet. The survey was conducted in January and discovered that approximately eight out of 10 American adults were concerned about the government monitoring phone calls and tracking Internet communications. Also, 91 percent felt that they had lost control over how their personal information was collected and stored by companies online.
Americans are also worried about social media. According to the survey, 80 percent of adults said that they worried about advertisers' access to their personal information and 70 percent expressed their concern that the government would track them on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
"Americans' lack of confidence in core communications channels tracks closely with how much they have heard about government surveillance program," the Pew report stated, according to ZDNet.
The contradiction in the survey
Despite the concerns expressed, more than half of the survey respondents communicated that they were willing to share personal information online in order to use free services. While distrustful of advertisers and the government, they were prepared to take the risk and volunteer their information anyway. Author of the Pew report, Mary Madden, said that consumers seemed resigned to letting companies collect their information.
"There's an overwhelming sense that consumers have lost control over the way their personal information is collected and used by companies," said Madden, according to BBC News.
It is evident that the Snowden events led to a lower sense of security among Americans with regard to their Internet privacy, but strangely, that has not affected their online behavior.
"There is both widespread concern about government surveillance among the American public and a lack of confidence in the security of core communications channels," Madden added.
The most incongruous discovery that the survey made was that despite Americans' concerns over government surveillance, 64 percent indicated that the government should do more to regulate how advertisers accessed user data. The bottom line is American's don't trust the government, don't trust advertisers, and for some reason, expect one to take care of the other.