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New Pew Report on Americans' Views on Privacy and Information Sharing

January 14, 2016 by Andrew Young

Yesterday Network member Lee Rainie and the Pew Research Center released a new report on Americans’ views on privacy and information sharing. The report covers a wide variety of scenarios in which personal information could pass between different parties. The scenarios include: workplace security and tracking; health information, convenience and security; consumer loyalty cards and profiling; auto insurance discounts and monitoring; personal details and advertisements; and home activities, comfort and data capture.

Rainie and his colleagues find that:

“[T]he phrase that best captures Americans’ views on the choice between privacy vs. disclosure of personal information is, ‘It depends.’ People’s views on the key tradeoff of the modern, digital economy – namely, that consumers offer information about themselves in exchange for something of value – are shaped by both the conditions of the deal and the circumstances of their lives. In extended comments online and through focus groups, people indicated that their interest and overall comfort level depends on the company or organization with which they are bargaining and how trustworthy or safe they perceive the firm to be. It depends on what happens to their data after they are collected, especially if the data are made available to third parties. And it also depends on how long the data are retained.”

Read the full report here.