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Tuesday, 9th February 2016

Privacy and Information Sharing

Source: Pew Research Center

Most Americans see privacy issues in commercial settings as contingent and context-dependent. A new Pew Research Center study based on a survey of 461 U.S. adults and nine online focus groups of 80 people finds that there are a variety of circumstances under which many Americans would share personal information or permit surveillance in return for getting something of perceived value. For instance, a majority of Americans think it would be acceptable (by a 54% to 24% margin) for employers to install monitoring cameras following a series of workplace thefts. Nearly half (47%) say the basic bargain offered by retail loyalty cards – namely, that stores track their purchases in exchange for occasional discounts – is acceptable to them, even as a third (32%) call it unacceptable.

Still, while many Americans are willing to share personal information in exchange for tangible benefits, they are often cautious about disclosing their information and frequently unhappy about what happens to that information once companies have collected it.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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