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Americans Will Trade Privacy for a “Good Deal”

Americans prefer saving money and time over dealing with privacy concerns, which perhaps the exceptions of home and car use.

Americans can be fickle when it comes to their privacy. A recent Pew Research Center study finds that despite concerns about privacy and identity theft, many Americans are willing to share personal information in exchange for tangible benefits, such a lower prices or convenience.
Offer them a free store loyalty card that will save them money on their purchases and they’re in even it means you’re tracking their purchase. Make it more convenient for them to schedule doctors appointments and access their medical records and they’re all for it even if it means uploading their medical records onto a website. But don’t track their activities on a free social media site to deliver targeted advertisements to them.
Hold the phone. Isn’t that last scenario already happening on a regular basis with Facebook?
Other scenarios most Americans won’t trade their privacy for include potential savings on their home energy bill if they share data about their basic home activities. The reason: They don’t want anyone to know when they are at home or which rooms they frequently use. They’re also reluctant to trade information about their driving speed and location, obtained through a device inside their vehicle, in exchange for a discount on their car insurance. In other words: Don’t open the door of your home or car to a third party, even if it means lowering your energy bill or car insurance.GEEK_AmericansPrivacyHowever, Americans aren’t as concerned about letting Big Brother into their workplace. For instance, if several co-workers had their personal belongings stolen, most Americans would support their employer installing high-resolution security cameras that use facial recognition technology to help identify the thieves, even if their employer had the right to keep that footage on file for as long as they want, and if that the equipment could be use to track employee attendance and performance.
Although we say we’re concerned about privacy and sharing our personal information with third parties, if there is a discount or benefit we really want to obtain, consumers are willing to agree to the terms, even if they are intrusive.
The numbers:
461 U.S. adults surveyed, including 9 focus groups with 80 U.S. adults. Here’s how they feel about the 6 scenarios:
Office surveillance

  • Acceptable: 54%
  • It depends: 21%
  • Not acceptable: 24%

Sharing health information

  • Acceptable: 52%
  • It depends: 20%
  • Not acceptable: 26%

Retail loyalty cards

  • Acceptable: 47%
  • It depends: 20%
  • Not acceptable: 32%

Auto insurance

  • Acceptable: 37%
  • It depends: 16%
  • Not acceptable: 45%

Free social media

  • Acceptable: 33%
  • It depends: 15%
  • Not acceptable: 51%

Smart thermostat

  • Acceptable: 27%
  • It depends: 17%
  • Not acceptable: 55%

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