Surveillance economy: More Americans now realize the threat

Pew found that 72% of Americans believe that “all, almost all or most of” what they do online–either on their cellphone or their computer–is being tracked by advertisers, ad tech companies, data companies, or others. An additional 19% believe that “at least some of” what they do is being tracked.

If it’s true that Americans trade away their data privacy for convenience, a majority don’t feel they’re getting the best end of the deal. Pew finds that 81% feel that privacy risks of the systematic collection of their personal data by the likes of Google and Facebook outweigh the potential benefits. And exactly two-thirds say government collection of their personal data has more downside (in loss of privacy) than upside (in security).

Almost half of Americans–47%–believe that the government is tracking at least most of their online activities, mobile or otherwise. That’s a stunning stat, especially in light of the common belief that America is a better place to live than China, which systematically surveils its population.

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