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Americans Feel Better Informed Thanks to the Internet

December 12, 2014 Comments off

Americans Feel Better Informed Thanks to the Internet
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Rather than crushing them with too much information and making it hard to find useful material, most Americans say the internet and cell phones have brought benefits in learning, sharing and diversifying the flow of information into their lives. A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that the vast majority of Americans believe their use of the web helps them learn new things, stay better informed on topics that matter to them, and increases their capacity to share ideas and creations with others.

These generally positive attitudes are buttressed by the view that people like having so much information at their fingertips, rather than feeling information overload. Moreover, this positive judgment extends to the broader culture. Most believe that average Americans and U.S. students are better informed than in the past.

CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust

December 6, 2014 Comments off

CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust
Source: Centre for International Governance Innovation and Ipsos

The CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, undertaken by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and conducted by global research company Ipsos, reached 23,376 Internet users in 24 countries, and was carried out between October 7, 2014 and November 12, 2014.

The countries included: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.

The survey found that:

  • 83% of users believe that affordable access to the Internet should be a basic human right;
  • two thirds (64%) of users are more concerned today about online privacy than they were compared to one year ago; and,
  • when given a choice of various governance sources to effectively run the world-wide Internet, a majority (57%) chose the multi-stakeholder
  • option—a “combined body of technology companies, engineers, non-governmental organizations and institutions that represent the interests and will of ordinary citizens, and governments.”

The global Survey was developed to help support the work of the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG). The GCIC, an initiative by CIGI and Chatham House, was established to articulate and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance.

More Than Six in 10 Americans Say Guns Make Homes Safer

December 2, 2014 Comments off

More Than Six in 10 Americans Say Guns Make Homes Safer
Source: Gallup

The percentage of Americans who believe having a gun in the house makes it a safer place to be (63%) has nearly doubled since 2000, when about one in three agreed with this. Three in 10 Americans say having a gun in the house makes it a more dangerous place.

Americans’ Perceptions of Privacy are Varied

November 24, 2014 Comments off

Americans’ Perceptions of Privacy are Varied
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

To better understand how the public thinks about privacy, a representative sample of 607 adults were asked an open-ended question in an online survey: “When you hear the word “privacy,” what comes to mind for you?” The responses that followed were striking in their variance, ranging from one-word entries to lengthier descriptions that touched on multiple concepts.

Once the responses were coded, a set of key words and themes emerged as the most frequently referenced and top-of-mind for the general public. Each of the top ten themes was referenced in at least 5% of the total responses. However, a full 22% of the responses referenced some other theme that was mentioned only a handful of times or was entirely unique.

U.S. Consumers Believe Bias Trumps Accuracy When Making Medical Decisions, says Accenture Survey

November 17, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Consumers Believe Bias Trumps Accuracy When Making Medical Decisions, says Accenture Survey
Source: Accenture

Don’t expect U.S. consumers to look to health insurers as their primary source of information when they have to make medical decisions, a new survey by Accenture (NYSE:ACN) indicates. The survey of 2,003 U.S. consumers showed the majority (69 percent) of the respondents believe that the information provided by insurers steers them in a preferred direction, and 65 percent believe the information they receive is difficult to apply to their own situation.

Domesticating the Drone: The Demilitarisation of Unmanned Aircraft for Civil Markets

November 13, 2014 Comments off

Domesticating the Drone: The Demilitarisation of Unmanned Aircraft for Civil Markets
Source: Science and Engineering Ethics

Remotely piloted aviation systems (RPAS) or ‘drones’ are well known for their military applications, but could also be used for a range of non-military applications for state, industrial, commercial and recreational purposes. The technology is advanced and regulatory changes are underway which will allow their use in domestic airspace. As well as the functional and economic benefits of a strong civil RPAS sector, the potential benefits for the military RPAS sector are also widely recognised. Several actors have nurtured this dual-use aspect of civil RPAS development. However, concerns have been raised about the public rejecting the technology because of their association with military applications and potentially controversial applications, for example in policing and border control. In contrast with the enthusiasm for dual-use exhibited throughout the EC consultation process, the strategy for avoiding public rejection devised in its roadmap would downplay the connection between military and non-military RPAS and focus upon less controversial applications such as search and rescue. We reflect upon this contrast in the context of the European agenda of responsible research and innovation. In doing so, we do not rely upon critique of drones per se, in their neither their civil nor military guise, but explore the extent to which current strategies for managing their public acceptability are compatible with a responsible and socially beneficial development of RPAS for civil purposes.

Americans Consider Certain Kinds of Data to be More Sensitive than Others

November 12, 2014 Comments off

Americans Consider Certain Kinds of Data to be More Sensitive than Others
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Different kinds of information evoke varying levels of sensitivity among Americans. Social security numbers are universally considered to be the most sensitive piece of personal information, while media tastes and purchasing habits are among the least sensitive categories of data. In general, about half of respondents view the content of phone conversations, email messages and text messages as “very sensitive,” and one in four see that data as “somewhat sensitive.”

There are various demographic patterns that are echoed across many of the responses:

  • Those who have higher levels of income and education report greater sensitivity for nearly every kind of data included in the survey.
  • Those who have heard a lot about government surveillance programs and those who have searched for information connected to their names online report higher sensitivity levels for most categories of information. These differences are especially notable when looking at the sensitivity of phone conversations and email messages.
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