Americans Think Their Online Privacy is Less Secure Now than Ever

American public opinion think tank Pew Research Center says a majority of Americans believe their online and offline activities are being tracked and monitored by companies and the government with some regularity.

In its summary of research findings from a new privacy study, Pew says U.S. adults feel that privacy invasion is so common it is impossible to go through daily life without having data collected about them by companies or the government.

In an article released on the company’s website this week, Pew said that data-driven products and services are often marketed with the potential to save users time and money or even lead to better health and well-being. But, large shares of U.S. adults are not convinced they benefit from this system of widespread data gathering.

According to Pew, 81% of the public say that the potential risks they face because of data collection by companies outweigh the benefits, and 66% say the same about government data collection. At the same time, American adults are concerned about the way their data is being used by companies (79%) or the government (64%). Most also feel they have little or no control over how these entities use their personal information.

Additionally, they are not confident that corporations are good stewards of the data they collect. For example, 79% of Americans say they are not too or not at all confident that companies will admit mistakes and take responsibility if they misuse or compromise personal information, and 69% report having this same lack of confidence that firms will use their personal information in ways they will be comfortable with.

Source: Pew Research