Pew has just published a new report on Americans and how they protect their privacy in the post-Edward Snowden era. Long story short – most don’t do much of anything to even attempt to keep out the prying government eyes.
Most people have heard at least something about Edward Snowden’s leaks, and the massive government surveillance programs he exposed to the public – 87 percent, in fact. Basically, you really have to be living under as rock to have missed this (it’s been about two years since Snowden first came forward).
Despite having at least some level of familiarity with the government’s data collection initiatives, many Americans haven’t really taken any steps (however pointless they might be) to protect their data.
34% of those who are aware of the surveillance programs (30% of all adults) have taken at least one step to hide or shield their information from the government. For instance, 17% changed their privacy settings on social media; 15% use social media less often; 15% have avoided certain apps and 13% have uninstalled apps; 14% say they speak more in person instead of communicating online or on the phone; and 13% have avoided using certain terms in online communications.
25% of those who are aware of the surveillance programs (22% of all adults) say they have changed the patterns of their own use of various technological platforms “a great deal” or “somewhat” since the Snowden revelations. For instance, 18% say they have changed the way they use email “a great deal” or “somewhat”; 17% have changed the way they use search engines; 15% say they have changed the way they use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook; and 15% have changed the way they use their cell phones.
That leaves a whole lot of Americans who heard what Mr. Snowden had to say, and from then on felt no desire to modify their online behavior in the slightest.
According to Pew, half of all surveyed have not even considered using a footprint-free search engine, using email encryption, or installing DoNotTrack plugins.
Why? If not ignorance, is it laziness?
Sort of. In reality, a large portion of the American public simply doesn’t care. They aren’t concerned about government surveillance and data collection in email, search, cellphones, or social media.
However, Pew found that 57% of people think it’s “unacceptable” for the government to monitor US citizens’ private communications.
Image via Pew