Americans seem worried, yet resigned about Internet snooping by government and private industry, according to a Washington Post poll.
Sixty-six percent say they are worried about what the NSA does with their personal information. Most have taken no action as a result of the Edward Snowden revelations about NSA surveillance. In any event, only nine percent of Americans are confident of the efforts they take to protect their privacy.
One Virginia parent, Terry Brickerd, explained, "I don't care. I don't have anything to hide. Because they're not listening to us individually — they look for patterns. So what's the big deal? I mean, without that, how many terror attacks would we have?"
Roughly seven out of 10 people are troubled by the amount of personal data that is collected about them from all sources. They worry about what cell phone providers, retailers — brick and mortar as well as on-line — and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter do with their histories.
One pharmacy shopper said she was troubled by the fact that the store monitors her medications and offers her customized discounts based on her medical history.
Many people nevertheless use tools that provide information about their children. Seventy percent monitor the sites their children visit, according to the survey. Some are purchasing "granny cams" to watch over elderly parents.
Forty-two percent of Americans have set their browsers to block certain websites from tracing them.
More-educated and wealthier people appear less concerned about surveillance. Politically conservative Americans tend to be more worried. And educated male conservatives more frequently take steps to protect their data from snoopers.
Many Americans seem resigned that loss of privacy is the price of living in today's world.
Julia Roberts, a writer and mother, said she and her husband use tracking programs to monitor their children. "I pay for their phones, so it's part of the bargain."
She also said that she understands the government needs to use technology to protect the homeland. "I don't care if somebody in the government listens to my phone calls. I don't mind being checked on. I don't mind being tracked. And our children will care even less, because they're growing up with all this, always connected. It's just who we are," she told the Post.
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