Data breaches and privacy hacks seem to happen weekly, and many people appear to shrug off the impact. But studies show there’s a “red line” users are unwilling to let tech companies cross when it comes to the security of their information.
In coordination with SurveyMonkey, Recode recently published a poll of which tech company Americans trusted least. In light of recent scandals, Facebook ran away with the title: A full 56 percent say they don’t trust the social network with their personal information.
Google was second, with five percent, and Uber and Twitter both had three percent of the population stateside claiming they were the worst actors. Snap, Apple, and Amazon all checked in with two percent. Microsoft, Lyft, and Tesla all scored one percent.
Netflix doesn’t register as a company users should worry about. The company admits it tracks viewership metadata for its programs, but it’s unclear if they share that data with outside companies, or if that data is personally identifiable.
Magnify Money also queried readers on which data/privacy alert raised the most alarm for them. Its data shows that, while Facebook’s wheeling and dealing of user data is alarming, people are still more concerned about Equifax’s data breach. From Magnify Money:
Based on our survey, which polled 1,000 U.S. adults, the knowledge that information like your Social Security Number and past addresses are in the hands of hackers is slightly more disconcerting than the idea of a political consulting firm using your Facebook data to influence an election. The survey was conducted March 27-28, just days after news broke about the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal and several months since the Equifax breach was first made public.
While these two surveys play to their crowd – Recode is tech, Magnify Money is financial – we see there’s a line tech pros can’t cross when it comes to safeguarding personal data. Once it gets into social security numbers, household income, maiden names, and addresses, users are far more unforgiving. It can also affect your employability.
Breaches of especially sensitive data may drive people to stop using some services entirely. A full 25 percent of those queried by Magnify Money say they’re considering stopping their use of online banking and account access, while only 19 percent say they plan to delete their Facebook accounts.
Another interesting takeaway: while the Equifax breach undoubtedly hit closer to home as far as personal data is concerned, it made consumers more aware of reactive safeguards. We can monitor our credit and use identity theft checks; it’s possible to freeze your credit, too. But social networks and services like Facebook have no such measure: the only way to secure data is to alter how you use such platforms, or stop entirely.
And plenty of people are, but data shows they’re more willing to stop using tech once it affects their social security numbers. It’s a good warning sign for those tech pros collecting and storing data.