People feel they lack control of their online info, says study

U.S. adults who say they have heard a lot about government surveillance are most worried about their digital footprints.

They are more likely to have looked up their own names online to see what information can be found about them.

That’s the result of a new Pew Research Internet Project report that included a survey of 607 adults conducted in January  2014. 

Seventy-one percent of those who say they have heard a lot about former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have looked up their own name online, compared to 57 percent of those who hadn’t heard much about the government surveillance controversy.

Anxiety about online personal data is high, with 91 percent of consumers saying that they have lost control over how personal information is collected and used. A few other data points:

  • 88 percent agree it would be difficult to remove inaccurate online information about them.
  • 80 percent say they are concerned about third party advertisers accessing their data.
  • 70 percent of those on social networks say they are somewhat concerned about government access of data on the sites without their knowledge.

Just 24 percent say they think it is easy to be anonymous when online.

The takeaway is that adults are anxious about their online lives and many don’t feel they have much control.

Above:  Edward Snowden (Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)


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