New Survey Finds Americans Are “Concerned and Confused” About Data Privacy

Most adults are “concerned” about how companies (81%) and the government (71%) use the data they collect about them, according to a report published last month. 

Two-thirds of adults “have little to no understanding” of what companies (67%) or the government (77%) do with their personal information. This is up from 59 percent in 2019.

Along party lines, the survey found growing concern among Republicans regarding the government’s use of their data. Republicans who worry about how their personal information is used rose from 64% in 2019 to 71% today. On the other hand, Democrats “held steady,” from 66% in 2019 to 65% today.  

Americans don’t trust social media executives to protect their privacy either. Most U.S. adults say they have “very little or no trust at all” that they will publicly admit their mistakes and take accountability when users’ data is compromised (77%), not sell their data without their permission (76%) or be held accountable by the government when they do (71%).

Americans also distrust artificial intelligence. Most (81%) believe companies will use their personal information in ways they would not be comfortable with or apart from the original intent. But a majority of Americans see the benefit of AI (62%) and believe it will make their life easier.

“The public increasingly says they don’t understand what companies are doing with their data,” Pew Research Center staff found. “Some 67% say they understand little to nothing about what companies are doing with their personal data, up from 59%.”

To read the full report, topline questionnaire and methodology, click

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