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New Study Reveals Americans Fret About Loss of Privacy, But Continue to Share Online

A new survey by the Pew Research Center titled “Public Perceptions of Privacy and Security in the Post-Snowden Era” sheds light on some dark concerns that Americans have about their privacy. However, the majority of Americans admitted that despite their concerns, they will continue to share information online and use social networking sites.

A shocking 91 percent of adults surveyed admitted they “agree” or “strongly agree” that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies.

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Eighty percent of those who use social networking sites said they are concerned about third parties like advertisers or businesses accessing the data they share on these sites.

In addition, 70 percent of those using social networks said they are at least somewhat concerned about the government accessing some of the information they share on social networking sites without their knowledge.

The report, which surveyed some 607 adults, comes more than a year after contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents about widespread government surveillance by the NSA.

According to the survey, 43 percent of adults have heard “a lot” about “the government collecting information about telephone calls, emails, and other online communications as part of efforts to monitor terrorist activity.” About 44 percent said they heard “a little,” and only 5 percent of adults said they’ve heard “nothing at all.”

Eighty percent of adults “agree” or “strongly agree” that Americans should be concerned about the government’s monitoring of phone calls and internet communications.

When it comes to the security of various ways of communicating, 81 percent of respondents said they feel “not very” or “not at all secure” using social media sites when they want to share private information. About 58 percent of respondents said they feel insecure texting private information, 57 percent feel insecure emailing private information and 46 percent feel “not very” or “not at all secure” sharing private information through a cell phone conversation. Roughly 31 percent of respondents said they have the same concerns using a landline phone.

Despite privacy jitters, Americans’ proclivity for online sharing continues. According to the survey, 55 percent of respondents said they have shared information or posted comments online using their real name, and 59 percent said they have shared online under a user name or screen name that people associate with them.

In addition, 55 percent of respondents said they “agree” or “strongly agree” that they would be willing to share some personal information with companies in order to use online services for free.

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