Political Affiliation Influences Our Fear of Data Collection

Fri, 03 Jun 2022 04:30:00 GMT
Scientific American - Technology

It’s not government Americans don’t trust with their data; it’s the opposite political party

Throughout history, governments have exploited or collected data on their citizens-from benign data, like salary information and census records, to creepy data, like biometric records for law enforcement activities.

Our original research suggests that Americans' fears about government surveillance change based on who is in power and what we fear that political party may do with our data.

These fears cloud the issue at hand: If we want more control over our own privacy, then we need to put our focus towards what data the government collects and what they do with that data.

Despite bipartisan support of laws limiting data collection and privacy, legislators' efforts to stop government surveillance have floundered.

To protect our privacy we need to focus on the laws and programs that enable data collection on Americans.

When it comes to government surveillance, we're relying on political trust-trust of our political party-instead of trying to understand what's actually happening with our data.

While we generally trust our own political party, the decisions about what happens to our data are rarely made by the president, and are even more rarely publicly disclosed.

The U.S. government is notoriously opaque about what personal data it collects and what it does with the data.

Our fear of what the opposing party might do with our data is driving us to change our opinions, which doesn't make sense given the structure of the government.

Technology companies vacuum up customer data and use such data to tailor their products, services and, of course, advertisements.

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