The PJ Tatler

Poll: Almost One-Third of Adults Try to Protect their Cyber Data from the Government

A new survey from Pew Research shows that 30% of adults attempt to shield their internet information from the prying eyes of the government.

About a quarter, or 22 percent, said they had changed use of various technology platforms “a great deal” or “somewhat” since Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, disclosed the surveillance programs in mid-2013, the Pew survey showed.

“We find that a portion of the population is adjusting some activity at least in some simple ways like changing their privacy settings and being a bit more discreet in the things they say and search for,” said Lee Rainie, director of Internet, science, and technology research at the Pew Research Center.

Knowledge of government surveillance is fairly widespread, with 87% saying they had heard something about the monitoring program.  Among those folks, 17% said they had made adjustments to their social media habits to avoid government snooping.

Notably, more than half (57%) say it is unacceptable for the government to snoop on U.S. citizens –however, around 80% say the government should be snooping on terrorists. Sixty percent are fine with the government spying on foreign leaders and U.S. leaders.

The Pew survey comprised 475 adults and was carried out between Nov. 26, 2014, and Jan. 3. The sampling error is 5.6 percentage points.