Public trusts Google less than NSA, survey claims

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Public trusts Google less than NSA, survey claims

By Natalie Crofts | Posted - Oct. 29, 2014 at 12:15 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — People would be more upset if a company like Google gained access to all of their records than if the NSA did, according to a new survey.

In an attempt to determine what the public is most afraid of when it comes to “data snooping,” Survata asked people on the Internet how upset they would be if various organizations or people gained access to all of their personal electronic data, like web history, web downloads and cell phone data. “A company like Google” edged out the NSA for the top spot when those surveyed rated how upset they would be, Survata reported.

On a scale of one to 10 — one being that the respondent wouldn’t care at all and 10 being that the respondent would be extremely upset — “a company like Google” garnered an average rating of 7.39. The NSA was rated at 7.06, while “your boss” came in at 6.85, “your parents” was rated 5.93 and “your spouse or significant other” got a 4.55.

“If these results are to be believed, then humanity is rife with those who speak out of several sides of their mouth,” CNET reporter Chris Matyszczyk wrote. “On the one hand, we claim to fear Google most, yet we allow it, Facebook and the like to crawl over our daily routines and information like summer flies enjoying a rancid grapefruit.”

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A total of 2,566 people participated in the survey, which was given to individuals online who wanted to access free content from various publishers. Survata claims to guarantee high-quality answers through various methods.

"Survata was surprised to see respondents say they'd be more upset with a company like Google seeing their personal data than the NSA,” Survata founder Chris Kelly told CNET. “We did not ask respondents for the reasons or motivations behind their answers, so we can only conjecture based on our previous research. One guess is that respondents assume the NSA is only looking for 'guilty' persons when scouring personal data, whereas a company like Google would use personal data to serve ads or improve their own products."

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Natalie Crofts

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