Most Americans are still feeling anxious about their online privacy, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center—and they want the government to do something about it.
Pew’s study found that 79 percent of Americans are very or somewhat concerned about how companies use data about their Internet habits. Only about one-in-five Americans say they often read privacy policies – and of those who do, only 22 percent read them all the way through.
A majority of those surveyed say they want action from their elected officials – fully 75 percent said they think there should be more regulation of personal data by the government than there is now, according to Pew. We agree and it’s why Privacy for America is proposing a comprehensive, federal privacy law that would set clear and enforceable privacy rules for the entire nation.
Americans should feel secure in the protection of their data and shouldn’t be burdened by lengthy privacy policies that they hardly understand or have time to read one-by-one. Our new paradigm would shift the burden from consumers and allow them to depend on strong national standards without having to read hundreds of privacy policies in order to protect themselves. It would also ban outright a wide range of harmful uses of consumers’ personal information and ensure those who violate the law are punished, while also preserving the benefits that come from the responsible use of data.
We know complex legislation like a national privacy law takes time to produce and perfect, and we thank the legislators on Capitol Hill who have made privacy reform one of their top priorities this year. At the same time, it’s clear that there’s a strong desire for Congress to speed up its work toward a comprehensive federal privacy bill that would provide the necessary privacy protections for all Americans, no matter where they live. Consumers, this study shows, will certainly thank them for it.