Privacy, security most likely to drive consumer action

According to a new study by Edelman, among major technology policy issues, security and privacy of personal data was overwhelmingly the largest concern for consumers, ranking ahead of the cost/quality of home internet service and technology innovations that improve everyday life.

The majority of respondents (59 percent) said either privacy or security had the biggest potential impact on their personal lives. This concern has led as many respondents to say they would take action related to security and privacy issues.

The survey polled more than 1,000 U.S. consumers over the age of 18 to better understand their attitudes about major technology policy issues and their willingness to take action and engage in the political process on these issues.

The survey asked respondents to choose which one of several key tech policy issues had the most impact on them personally. The full list of issues and their response rates were as follows:

  • The security of personal data used online, on any connected devices: 30 percent
  • The privacy of personal data and how it is used by business and government: 29 percent
  • The cost, choice and quality of broadband Internet service received at home: 16 percent
  • Tech innovations that improve everyday life and work (using apps to book taxis, room reservations, “the sharing economy”): 9 percent
  • The future of America’s high tech workforce (immigration of skilled workers, STEM education): 8 percent
  • The commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones): 3 percent
  • The use of tech tools and computer algorithms to gain an advantage in the stock market: 3 percent
  • Intellectual property protections for people’s ideas and innovations: 2 percent.

Behind privacy and security, the issue people felt most impacted by – and were most willing to take action on – was the cost, choice and quality of internet service. This may have been fueled by the FCC considering amending its net neutrality position.

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