Consumers Losing Trust in Tech Companies

Recent articles about tech companies providing personal user information to government organizations like the NSA, has caused some consumers to become concerned about their online privacy.
Following the media coverage of ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden, further articles were released that revealed companies like Facebook and Yahoo have been providing user data to the NSA for years. While this may not have been news to those in tech industry, it was definitely news to the average online user. Most had no idea that their personal data was being viewed by high security government organizations.

The average person today spends at least three to four hours a day on their computer, which includes frequently visits to search engine and social media sites like Yahoo and Facebook. While the online searches conducted by most people don‘t raise any red flags, there are others who conduct online searches that may be considered questionable. However, does this give the NSA a reason to view their data? Most consumers say no. The feel that their online searches and other online personal data is their personal business. However, organizations like the NSA say otherwise.

Because this topic has generated so much media attention, tech companies like Yahoo have made public announcements stating that they only turn over personal user information if a governmental organization has proven the legal right to request it. Having legal authority however does not make online users feel any better about this situation.

Google is another tech company that has been providing personal user information to the NSA for years. In addition to this, it has also been recently revealed that Google is viewing user emails. A recent court ruling however stated that Google does not have the legal right to do this. Despite the court ruling, most feel that Google will continue viewing user emails any way.

The NSA has responded to all these recent articles by saying that their sole motive for requesting personal user information is to protect the United States from terrorists. NSA representatives report that having access to this information has helped them to prevent potential terrorist attacks. According to these representatives, terrorists frequently use sites like Google and Yahoo to research specific locations to carry out their plans. While others will use sites like Facebook to post specific details and updates. Because of this, the NSA states it has no choice but to view personal online user information.

Although some consumers would like to decrease their internet usage in order to avoid the NSA getting a hold of their information, most say that it would be very hard to do. It would be hard because so much of what we do today is done electronically. This includes paying bills online, making online purchases and sending emails to family and friends.

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