10/26 Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control – Leah Montgomery

“Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control” provides the reader with a detailed set of statistics on the levels of concern that American citizens feel in terms of data privacy and the ways in which companies or the government have access to the personal information that have characterize our lives. 

This article discusses a wide set of statistics, and can be explained broadly as the key results of a Pew Research Survey on the matter. Some of the results that piqued my interest included the discussion of race, which stated that “. . .black and Hispanic adults are more likely than white adults to say they are concerned to some degree about what law enforcement officials, employers and family and friends know about them.” Knowing the role that racism plays in our society today, I did not find it surprising that the likelihood of concern when it comes to data privacy can be focused on race, but also had not necessarily thought about racism extending into this subject. Additionally, other important results and takeaways from this survey included “63% of Americans say they understand very little or nothing at all about the laws and regulations that are currently in place to protect their data privacy.”, “Some 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” and “. . .70% of adults say their personal data is less secure. Only 6% report that they believe their data is more secure today than it was in the past.”.

This article was filled with a lot of statistics, which made it somewhat difficult to really take in and understand, since they were thrown at me one after another. However, I think it is important to note that not only are these results unsurprising, but I also agree with the majority of the participants. I do not know very much about data privacy and the laws that keep it from interfering with our right to privacy, but I also know that when I am confronted by privacy related guidelines on different platforms, I can’t recall a time where I have actually read what I am agreeing to. I strongly believe that I am not the only one who does this, especially at our age. I’m not sure if this speaks to our generation, or if this is a multigenerational issue that should have more attention than it currently has, but I am going to think twice before skipping through what I am agreeing to in terms of privacy.

4 thoughts on “10/26 Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control – Leah Montgomery

  1. I did not read this article, but you provide an interesting critique about the piece. One statistic that concerns me while reading your summary is 81% of the respondents said the potential risks of data collection by companies outweigh the benefits- this is a huge statistic, yet it does not seem to hinder people from giving their data. Do people continue to give their data, even though they are concerned about the risks, because they feel like they have no other choice?

    1. I also think this is a really interesting statistic and I am curious what the ‘benefits’ are that led participants to make their decision. I can only think of a few myself, but I also can only think of a few risks and my personal opinion is that the benefits outweigh the risks, for some companies. So, I think follow-up specifics would be really helpful from the author to help readers understand a bit deeper.

  2. Data privacy is a huge concern and oftentimes people don’t even realize the policies they agree to on websites and platforms. For instance, usually, when browsing a site you have to accept cookie policies or agree to certain policies when downloading new software or app. These policies span many pages and don’t allow for the user to fully grasp the content that they contain. These should definitely be shortened and made clearer for users to allow for them to fully understand privacy laws.

  3. I also did not think to link racism with concerns for data privacy, like you said, but also now recognizing that, I’m not surprised. Additionally, I also do not know much when it comes to data privacy and the laws related to it. A lot of the time I find myself accepting cookies, etc. without truly knowing what that means for the sake of finding certain information I’m interested in. I don’t truly recognize the results of doing so, but, to me, the ability to attain access to certain platforms online outweighs the cost of my data privacy. However, I think that’s because I don’t know enough information about these data privacy laws and I think that my perspective would change if I knew more about it.

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