Some 64% of Americans have experienced a major data breach first hand, and almost a third lack trust in key institutions – especially the federal government and social media – to protect their personal information, according to a survey by Pew Research Center.
Some 28% of Americans have no confidence that the federal government can keep their personal information safe from unauthorized users, while 24% of social media users lack any confidence in these sites to protect their data. Just 12% of Americans (and 9% of social media users) have a very high level of confidence that these entities can keep their personal information safe.
“They express some level of concern about a variety of entities, ranging from telecommunications firms to credit card companies,” authors of the study say. “But their fears are especially pronounced for two institutions in particular: the federal government and social media platforms.”
Roughly half of Americans (49%) feel that their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago. Some 18% feel their information has gotten more secure in recent years, while 31% feel their information is about as safe as it was five years ago. Americans aged 50 years and older are particularly likely to feel that their personal information has become less safe in recent years: 58% of Americans in this age group express this opinion, compared with 41% of those ages 18 to 49.
Despite their concerns and experiences, most Americans do not express profound worries about cybersecurity in their personal lives or in their expectations for various public institutions, survey also shows.
The analysis in this report is based on a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2016 on a national sample of 1,040 adults, 18 years of age or older.