The Arcology Garden -- Americans and Privacy


This is a pretty damning knock on the consent-driven privacy mechanisms?

A majority of Americans believe their online and offline activities are being tracked and monitored by companies and the government with some regularity. It is such a common condition of modern life that roughly six-in-ten U.S. adults say they do not think it is possible to go through daily life without having data collected about them by companies or the government.

Core parts of the current system of data collection and privacy protection are built on the idea that consumers are given notice about how firms collect and use data and ask for their consent to having their data used that way. Fully 97% say they are ever asked to approve privacy policies, yet only one-in-five adults overall say they always (9%) or often (13%) read these policies. Some 38% of U.S. adults maintain they sometimes read such policies, and 36% say they never read a company’s privacy policy before agreeing to it. In all, about four-in-ten adults say they understand privacy policies great deal (8%) or some (33%).

In addition to the concerns cited above about how companies handle personal data, a majority of Americans (57%) say they are not too confident (40%) or not at all confident (17%) companies follow what their privacy policies say they will do with users’ personal data.

Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to say they believe the government is tracking all or most of what they do online or on their cellphone (60% vs. 43%). Similar gaps are present in views about offline activities: 47% of black adults think all or most of their offline activities are tracked by the government, compared with just 19% of white adults.

In addition, 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.

Privacy Archive Society "informed consent"