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Infographic – US Public Says It’s Tracked Each Day

Survey on data collection

(Pew Research Center)

14 Dec. 2019. A solid majority of Americans says companies or government agencies are collecting data about them each day, and they’re not happy about it. The Pew Research Center reported the findings last month, based on a survey panel of 4,272 adults in the U.S. in June 2019.

More than six in 10 Americans tell the Pew researchers that it’s not possible to go a day without private companies (63%) and government (62%) collecting data about them, illustrated in this weekend’s infographic. Less than four in 10 in each case, 38 and 36 percent respectively, say it is possible to go through their daily lives without being tracked by companies or government agencies.

In addition, large majorities, from six to more than eight in 10 American adults, feel collecting data about their lives is getting out of control. Some eight in 10 in the U.S. feel they have little or no control over the data being collected about them by companies (81%) and government (84%). Moreover, from two-thirds to eight in 10 adults believe the risks outweigh the benefits, while about the same number are very or somewhat concerned about data collection, with private companies generating more negative reactions than government. And six to eight in 10 Americans do not understand what companies or the government do with the data they collect.

Many recent innovations in research technology reported in Science & Enterprise rely on smartphones or wearables to collect data routinely from participants. These findings suggest researchers need to be more open and transparent about their objectives and methods to gain participants’ cooperation.

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