Wednesday, November 15, 2006

International Surveillance and Privacy Survey from Queen's University

Earlier this week, Queen's University researchers released the results of a survey of 9,000 people around the world about their experiences with surveillance and privacy.

"This is believed to be the first cross-cultural study of its kind that explores relationships between attitudes and experiences, and how much people trust corporations and governments to handle personal information, including the sharing of such information with third parties, the researcher says... the survey included nearly 50 questions on participant’s attitudes about issues like consumer surveillance, racial profiling at airports, national ID cards, media coverage of surveillance issues, workplace privacy, knowledge of privacy regulations, control over personal data and public trust in government. "
One of the interesting findings is that Americans seem more concerned than Canadians at the intrusiveness of national security laws introduced since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It appears that the constant bombardment of fear messages by U.S. authorities and commercial media has not convinced American citizens that everything is OK.

Major results:
  • a majority of respondents believe surveillance laws are intrusive (U.S. 57 per cent, Canada 48 per cent,Spain 53 per cent, Mexico 46 per cent, Brazil 41 per cent, France 40 per cent)
  • a majority worry about providing personal information on websites (China 54 per cent,Canada 66 per cent, Brazil 70 per cent, Spain 62 per cent and U.S. 60 per cent)
  • a majority believe the use of closed circuit television deters in-store crime (Mexico 88 percent, U.S. 80 per cent, Canada 79 per cent, France 73 per cent)
  • a majority rejected out-right the premise that airport authorities should give extra security checks to visible minority passengers. About 60 per cent of Chinese, Hungarians, Brazilians, and Canadians but only a third of Americans found such practices unacceptable
  • there were major differences on some questions: 63 per cent of Chinese respondents trust the government to protect the personal information it collects compared to just 48 per cent of Canadians and a mere 20 per cent of Brazilians say they trust their respective governments with their personal information

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:30 pm


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