Who don’t you trust with your personal data?

About a month ago I posted “Whom do you trust with your personal?“, containing two polls. The number of respondents is surprisingly low, so I’m back with them, using a slightly different approach. Perhaps the InterWebs will respond more to the negative trust question.

The results so far don’t surprise me. Facebook is distrusted by a wide margin — 57.42 percent of respondents. Microsoft and Google are most trusted (38.6 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively). But Google also is second-most distrusted (27.1 percent). Both polls provide just five major tech companies but opportunity for respondents to give their own answers. Nine percent trust no one.

As always, your comments are enlightening. 1DaveN writes:

I trust Facebook more than Google because I’m in control of what I post on Facebook. With Google, they just vacuum up every bit of information they can get their hands on from any source. Google could potentially be getting data from me in scenarios where I don’t even know they’re there — kind of like they read all your emails, but I suspect they’re doing similar things in areas where their presence isn’t even known. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have anyone see what I do in my living room, but once I know you’re peeping in my window, your creepy actions make me want to avoid you at all costs. That’s kind of how I feel about Google.

I’m most interested in responses like this one because of Google Now. The service presupposes Google watches you — “peeping in the window” is all but necessary. How else can Google proactively provide information about local weather, travel time home, flight status, Amazon package shipped and much more. Google Now is a handy service, so good Popular Science calls the service “innovation of the year“. But big benefits don’t come cheap. They require extending Google quite a bit of trust.

“For the most part, I think Google sticks to it’s ‘Don’t be evil’ motto”, Xuanlong comments. “Yes, they do collect tons of data, which can make people uncomfortable, but at the end of the day, my search terms or browsing habits are not closely guarded secrets. If they can use that information to improve their own products, I can’t really say I have too much of a problem with it”.

For other readers, the cloud makes everyone suspect. “Probably the biggest reason I have for not moving into the new post-PC world is it’s reliance on the cloud”, rebradley opines. “I know most people don’t care or even know where their data is but I do and I want to control it. The cloud and networked services are just too fragile and tempting targets of opportunity to both deliberate assaults and its own technical weaknesses. Not only that, when you let others host all your private data, questions of who owns your data will inevitability arise. I see a day when the ownership of your personal pictures, writings and other form of data is questioned and even lost to the owner of the cloud”.

I’ll add to that. What happens when cloud companies change policies affecting your stuff. Just seven months ago, DropBox dropped the bomb on users by granting law enforcement access to data that was supposedly encrypted. Among the 1,474 respondents to our reaction poll, 73.54 percent were either “really ticked off” or “kind of peeved”.



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