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You are here: English BoingBoing ibag Majority of Americans know they're under constant surveillance, don't trust the companies doing it, and feel helpless to stop it

Majority of Americans know they're under constant surveillance, don't trust the companies doing it, and feel helpless to stop it

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A Pew Study found that 60% of Americans believe that they are being continuously tracked by companies and the government, 69% mistrust the companies doing the tracking, 80% believe that advertisers and social media sites are collecting worrisome data, 79% think the companies lie about breaches, and 80% believe that nothing they do will make a difference. Among Black people, the stats are (justifiably) grimmer: 73% of Black users worry about law-enforcement abuse of their data (it's only 56% of white Americans). This may seem like bad news, but there's a silver lining. For decades, privacy activists have struggled to convince people to care about online surveillance -- thanks to inaction, people can't help but care, because they are being harmed in ways large and small on the regular. This is the Peak Indifference moment, when denialism threatens to slide into nihilism ("OK, OK, I believe your story about declining rhino populations, but since there's only one left, why don't we find out what he tastes like?"). It's the moment when an activist's job changes from convincing people that there's a problem to convincing them that it's not too late to do something about it. It means that there is a public appetite for change, and that lawmakers and regulators who propose meaningful privacy rules will find support for it -- and that businesses that offer privacy-friendly tools will find markets for them. What’s next? There are some moves in the right direction. Google’s deal with Ascension has already sparked a federal probe. Read the rest

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