Most Americans are worried that technology is being used to invade their privacy, a sharp spike from five years ago. And even more -- seven in 10 adults -- are concerned they could become victims of online identify theft at some point in the future, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.
After a spate of revelations of major identity-theft cases, 57 percent now express worry that computers and technology are prying into their private lives -- up from 42 percent in 2000 and 38 percent in 1994. Moreover, 72 percent are concerned about the possibility their personal records could be stolen over the Internet.
Concern About Computers Being Used to Invade Your Privacy
These worries follow reports of unauthorized use of personal information stored by companies including Bank of America, ChoicePoint, DSW Inc. and Lexis-Nexis, and subsequent calls from Congress for laws to reign in so-called data brokers. As things stand, this ABC News/Washington Post poll finds, 84 percent of Americans think such companies are not doing enough on their own to protect personal privacy.
|Sampling, data collection and tabulation for this poll were done by TNS.|
In light of that trend, a more positive result is the lack of an increase in the number of Americans reporting actual experiences with identity theft. And 22 percent say they've had a credit card number or other personal information stolen at some point, precisely the same as in March 2001.
Faith in data companies' security measures is directly related to concerns about personal information. Among people who think these companies are not doing enough to protect records, 62 percent are worried that their privacy is being invaded, and 76 percent are concerned about identity theft in the future. Among those who think data protection is adequate, far fewer share these worries.
Current Data Protection
|Worried Your Privacy Is Being Invaded||37%||62|
|Concerned About Security of Personal Records||52||76|
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone March 10-13 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation were done by TNS of Horsham, Pa.
You can find more ABC News polls in our Poll Vault.