What’s Worse? Data Breaches Or Government Surveillance?

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What the hell is wrong with 45% of you? I understand that you’re entitled to your opinion, but our free speech laws protect my right to tell you that you (well, at least 45% of you) are crazy.

That’s what I’m left concluding after seeing the results of a consumer survey conducted by a company called idRADAR. The survey asked:

What concerns you more, data breaches or government listening to your private phone or email conversations?

Forty-five percent of respondents said government surveillance.

Really? The percentage of Americans that use a debit or credit card to make payments is huge. The Identity Theft Resource Center recorded 614 breaches in 2013, an increase of 30% over the total number of breaches tracked in 2012. And, as the ITRC reports, many breaches go un- or under-reported.

According to the ITRC, banking and business-related breaches accounted for 85% of all records impacted by breaches in 2013, about 78 million records. Even with the realization that any one person’s records may have been involved in multiple breaches, we’re still talking about a lot of Americans impacted by data breaches.

And you’re more concerned with the government listening to your private phone calls or reading your email?

In no way do I support government surveillance of that kind, but that’s not the point–the question asked what was of more concern.

And anyway, recent events suggest that even if the government did spy on your email, they’d probably lose any record of it when their PC crashed.

So…tell me why I’m wrong. Tell me why these 45% of Americans are right for being more concerned about government surveillance than data breaches.

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