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AP Poll: Americans have little trust in online security

AP Poll-Digital Privacy
Posted at 10:03 AM, Sep 16, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — A poll shows that most Americans don’t believe their personal information is secure online and they aren't satisfied with the federal government's efforts to protect their digital privacy.

The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MeriTalk shows that 64 percent of Americans said their social media activity is not very or not at all secure. Roughly the same percentage say online information revealing their physical location isn't secure either. The same poll found roughly half of Americans said their private text conversations lack security. But now, they want something done about the lack of security.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans said they support establishing national standards for how companies can collect, process, and share personal data. But, after years of failed efforts, Americans aren't very hopeful that government can fix it and instead are looking at the private sector, even with numerous high-profile hacks of major social media companies and companies.

About 71% of Americans believe that individuals’ data privacy should be treated as a national security issue, with a similar level of support among Democrats and Republicans. But only 23% are very or somewhat satisfied with the federal government’s current efforts to protect Americans’ privacy and secure their personal data online.

The poll also found agreement in how Americans look at technology: 81% of Democrats and 78% of Republicans say they view technology as playing a major role in the country’s ability to compete globally. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats and 56% of Republicans see value in the government’s technology investments.

At least 60 percent of adults support the federal government taking measures such as spending more on technology, expanding access to broadband internet, and strengthening copyright protections to improve U.S. competitiveness.