Blog Post

America's Online Privacy and Trust recently released a survey about online privacy and trust. Last year, Adam and Chad covered this issue in a Daily Brown Bag; in light of this recent survey, they thought that this would be a terrific time for them to revisit the topic of online privacy and trust. Watch this Daily Brown Bag to learn about online privacy and trust in America, how Google compares to other organizations, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, when it comes to online privacy and trust, and findings from other surveys about online privacy and trust that will surprise you!

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Hello and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we're going to be covering a recent survey on online privacy and trust. I'm Chad Hill and joined by Adam Stetzer.

Good afternoon and welcome to the Brown Bag. Chad, we've covered this issue of privacy and trust on the internet before. I think we did a Brown Bag last year. We're revisiting the topic today because there is a new survey from, which is an online tool that helps people manage their online privacy, and they've got some interesting new data that we want to cover to push this conversation along, which is definitely evolving. This survey from MyLife took a look at 4,000 adults in the U.S. and gathered information from them. One of the most interesting questions they asked is, 'Do you currently or would you trust these following organizations with your personal information?' They asked specifically about Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and the government. Here's some of the top line findings, Chad.

Of these four organizations, Google was the most trusted in the survey, so there is some news there, because we hear a lot of press talking about how people are increasingly distrustful of Google. When you hold them up against Facebook, LinkedIn, and the government, they actually come out on top. 47% of those surveyed trust Google with their personal information. LinkedIn came in in second place with 33% on the trust score. The government, also much aligned in the media, came in at 3rd place with 23%. And in last place, maybe surprisingly, depending on your perspective, was Facebook, which is interesting because people do share a lot of personal information on Facebook. So, another survey, I know there's a lot of these out there, Chad. Does this push our conversation further along?

Well, I think that the thing we've seen in these surveys is that it has a lot to do with the context of the questions and what the survey's all about. So, I have a couple other stats that I wanted to share. A lot of them, I think, confirm what you've seen and what we're hearing in this survey. But, CiviScience did a survey of 10,000 U.S. adults, and basically asked people where do they worry about their privacy? And what the answer was that they worry most was shopping online and using their credit cards online. Where they were least concerned was social media, but of those people, people did say that Facebook didn't really do enough to protect their online privacy. Now, Pew, who does a lot of surveys and they have an internet life survey they do, had some other interesting stats here. What they found is that about half of U.S. adults were concerned about the amount of personal data about them on the web, and 24% they said they believe current laws provided enough personal privacy protection online, and 60% said that being anonymous online was not possible.

Then, the survey you mentioned earlier, Adam, that we quoted from last year, was the Reason-Rupe survey, basically said that the interesting find there was that people trusted Facebook and Google less than the N.S.A., and these personal privacy laws and whether they're enough protections are hotly debated. Certainly, the N.S.A. and the Snowden thing brought these to the forefront. I know in Europe there are tons of things going on there, and even today there was an article in the New York Times about just how much the Europeans are really trying to push back against some of the U.S. tech companies and the control they are exerting in some of their countries. So, very interesting topic, Adam. One that I think will continue to evolve over as we cover the topics here.

We'll probably be back talking about this next year. So, the news today, a survey from talking about online trust and privacy. Google coming out on top, Facebook coming out on bottom interestingly, and a little bit contradictory to some of those results about the N.S.A. The government coming out somewhere in the middle along with LinkedIn. We would certainly love to hear your thoughts. This is a great topic of debate, so drop us a comment. Would love to interact with you, and we always hope you will subscribe so you'll join us for another Brown Bag real soon.