Fifty-five percent of American adults are concerned that the government is tracking them through location data generated from their cellphones, according to a new Harris Poll survey, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The survey also revealed that 77% of respondents said the government should get a warrant to purchase the kind of detailed location information that data brokers regularly buy and sell on the commercial market.
The government is currently buying such data for criminal law enforcement and border-security purposes, but without any court oversight, according to the Journal.
Many corporations use such information for targeted advertising and guiding decisions on investments, developments, and planning.
Other results from the poll show:
- When asked if they would take steps to avoid such tracking, 40% said they would block it with software, 26% said they would change their routines to be less predictable, 23% said they would leave their phone at home more, and 32% said they wouldn’t do anything different.
- Sixty percent somewhat or strongly disagreed with the following statement: “The only people concerned about keeping their location data private are people who have something to hide,” while 39% strongly or somewhat agreed.
- Of those aged 18-34, some 65% said they were worried about government location tracking, while only 39% of those over 65 were concerned.
- Among Whites, 51% were worried, while 54% of Asian Amnericans were concerned and 65% of Blacks and Hispanics.
The poll was conducted online among 2,000 adults between November 19-21. Although Harris doesn’t provide a margin of error, a poll of that sample size typically has one of +/-3%.
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