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Government Privacy

Even After NSA Leaks, Government Still Trusted Over Private Firms 234

cold fjord writes "Computing reports on a U.K. survey: 'Governments remain the organizations most trusted by the public to handle personal data, despite revelations about surveillance and data collection schemes by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), the U.K.'s GCHQ and other governmental organizations around the world. That's according to research by accounting and consultancy firm Ernst & Young, which suggests that more than half of people — 55 per cent — say they're comfortable sharing personal information with central government organizations ... However, consumers are more wary about sharing their data with private companies. Just one-third told Ernst & Young that they're willing to share personal information with financial institutions, while one-quarter are happy to do so when it comes to their energy provider. Only one-fifth of those surveyed said they're comfortable sharing personal data with supermarkets. ... it was web firms that people were most claimed to be wary of sharing information with — fewer than one-in-10 said they were comfortable about sharing data with social networks, such as Facebook or web search engines like Google.'" Meanwhile, a pair of researchers have assessed the NSA's data gathering scheme and found, unsurprisingly, that it's probably not very cost effective (PDF). "Conceivably, as some maintain, there still exist some exceptionally dim-witted terrorists or would-be terrorists who are oblivious to the fact that their communications are rather less than fully secure. But such supreme knuckle-heads are surely likely to make so many mistakes — like advertising on Facebook or searching there or in chatrooms for co-conspirators — that sophisticated and costly communications data banks are scarcely needed to track them down."
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Even After NSA Leaks, Government Still Trusted Over Private Firms

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  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:32PM (#45861733)

    Even more interestingly, this survey was conducted in The United Kingdom. If the same survey was done in America, it would likely have a very different result.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @07:46PM (#45861847)

    So, in the best case, the government is better than a private company (looking after the people). In the worst case, it is exactly like a private company (looking after its pockets).

    You're wrong. The NSA has used its secret information to decide to kill American citizens, to kidnap them and torture them, to destroy people's lives.

    A private corporation will do what, annoy you with a targeted ad? Hardly the same thing at all.

  • Re:in other news... (Score:5, Informative)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Friday January 03, 2014 @08:20PM (#45862103) Homepage

    over 50% of them (is the US) pay nothing into the system yet reap untold benefits.

    1. The survey was in the UK so your US-based views don't apply.
    2. That claim is based on the fact 50% pay no income tax, but it is false to extend that to "paying nothing into the system": In many cases, that means they pay every other kind of tax, including payroll, sales (gasoline, cigarettes, etc), state and municipal income taxes, and sometimes property taxes. They also pay in fees for various government services, such as driver's licensing.
    3. Most of those that actually pay no taxes at all do so because they have the audacity to be children under the age of 16, or retirees who don't have any income besides Social Security.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 03, 2014 @09:54PM (#45862653)
    This is naive. Companies have done and do terrible things and the market does nothing to curtail it. After the Ludlow massacre Rockefeller was temporarily unpopular, so what did he do? He hired a publicist. People loved him, he suffered no criminal or financial penalties.

    How about a more recent example? Coke killed several union organizers [soaw.org] in Columbia in the nineties. As a result, they suffered through a temporary and ineffective boycott. No other repercussions, most people didn't even hear about it.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin