Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Voters on Privacy: Not a Big Issue, but a Nagging Concern

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Voters on Privacy: Not a Big Issue, but a Nagging Concern

Article excerpt

Depending on how you ask, the average voter is either relatively unconcerned about privacy or fairly adamant that personal data not be sold to telemarketers, a recent survey conducted for the ABA showed.

Survey organization Mathew Greenwald and Associates, Washington, D.C., spoke to about 2,000 voters in New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Texas, and California earlier this year to prepare the findings. Respondents were asked to cite top election-year issues; privacy concerns did not eclipse the big three of education, taxes, and healthcare. Nor did it beat out concerns over crime, roads and traffic, jobs, or the environment.

Yet while it may not be top of mind, information sharing is a problem for some. When asked whether it was okay for the federal government to sell name and address information to telemarketers, 80% of those polled said they would be "very concerned." Likewise, 76% would be similarly troubled if state motor vehicle departments sold driver's license information to private firms.

Just over one-third of the voter group said they personally have experienced a problem as a result of companies sharing their financial data, with only 27% of those indicating that they had taken steps to stop companies from doing so.

Uncertainty prevails

Although most consumers recognize that there are laws to protect the privacy of the information they provide to financial service companies, few seemed to know about specific measures that could be taken for self protection with other companies. The most common response to questions about protecting their information was simply not to give it out (17%). The next most frequent response was "confront the company and tell them not to share the information" (8%). …

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