New Poll Shows Americans Believe Privacy Is Dead

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New Poll Shows Americans Believe Privacy Is Dead

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Do #American's believe that privacy is dead? http://bit.ly/13aEJbU via @Justmeans @Sangeeta_Haindl #socialenterprise

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Monday, July 1, 2013 - 9:00am

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The 17th quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll investigates American attitudes and opinions on the collection and use of their personal information by government, businesses, individuals and other groups without their consent, and how "big data" affects their personal privacy. The poll, conducted days before the disclosure of how the U.S. National Security Agency obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other internet giants, found that 85 per cent of Americans believe their communications history—phone calls, emails and Internet use—are accessible to the government, businesses and others. 66 per cent feel that they have little or no control over the type of information that is collected.

The survey found Americans teetering between anticipation and anxiety as they sort through the implications of the brave new world of communications, connectivity, and surveillance. People are concerned that the fundamental American right to privacy is no more. A majority aren't happy or comfortable about the collection and use of their personal information; nine in ten said that they have less privacy than previous generations and expect the next generation will be even worse off. They view the erosion of privacy like another broad trend, similar to the decline of employment security that is being imposed on average Americans by forces beyond their control.

The public are divided on the possible steps to improve national security. Only 10 per cent support expanded government monitoring of phone and email activities. Instead, people are more likely to favour increased use of camera surveillance of public places, with 44 per cent supporting it, followed by 16 per cent of respondents for "increased censorship of websites and less freedom to access sources on the Internet." A clear majority of 88 per cent are for a federal policy to require the deletion of online information. 

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Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.

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