Americans in the post-Snowden era are increasingly concerned about their privacy and security, according to a new study by Pew Research.
When asked about the subject, the vast majority of adults said their privacy is being challenged, along with the security of their personal information and their ability to retain confidentiality.
This follows Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA monitoring of Americans, published by The Guardian and The Washington Post, which has led to a constant stream of privacy and security-related stories in the press.
Some 43% of adults surveyed said they had heard “a lot” about the government collecting calls, emails and other online communications.
And 80% of adults agreed, or strongly agreed, that Americans should be concerned about this government monitoring of their personal communications.
However this distrust was not just directed towards the government.
Third party advertisers and businesses
A massive 91% said they believed that consumers have lost control over how their personal information is collected and used by companies.
With regards to social networking, 80% said they were concerned about third party advertisers or businesses accessing the data they share on the sites.
And people want the government to reign in such measures – 64% said they should be doing more to regulate advertisers.
A vast majority of respondents, 88%, also thought that removing inaccurate information about themselves from the internet would be “very difficult.”
However rather interestingly, a majority (55%) were willing to share personal information if it meant using an online service for free.
But on the flip-side, 61% do not believe that online services are more efficient because of an increased access to their personal data.
With regards to social media, around 81% of people don’t feel secure using these services when sharing private information with another trusted person or organisation.
68% feel insecure using chat or instant messaging to share such information, 58% with texts and 57% with emails.
And interestingly, only a quarter of adults believe it is easy for them to be anonymous when they are online.
Read the entire report here.