Survey Says Americans Fear Privacy Eroding

How many Americans think their personal data is safe and secure? As it turns out, almost none. The vast majority of Americans feel they've lost control over how their personal information is collected and used by companies, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

In addition, more than half are concerned about the government's policies of monitoring phone calls and Internet communication. The research, released Wednesday, was conducted by PewEUs Internet Project. It focuses on how Americans view privacy and online behavior a year after Edward Snowden revealed the extent of U.S. government surveillance programs.

The survey was taken from the responses of 607 adults who are members of the GfK Knowledge Panel, a large-scale online panel based on a representative random sample of the United States population.

Lack of Confidence

The Pew survey finds that 91 percent of those on the panel either agree or strongly agree that consumers have lost control. About 80 percent agree or strongly agree that Americans should be concerned about the government's monitoring of their communications.

"Perhaps most striking is AmericansEU lack of confidence that they have control over their personal information," according to a summary of the results. "That pervasive concern applies to everyday communications channels and to the collectors of their information -- both in the government and in corporations." Landlines, cell phones, e-mail, text messages, chat and social media were not considered "very secure" by a majority of respondents.

Other findings from the survey include: 88 percent of adults agree or strongly agree that it would be very difficult to remove inaccurate information about them online; 80 percent of those who use social networking sites say they are concerned about access to their data being given to third parties such as advertisers or businesses; 70 percent of those who use social networking sites...

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