US Insights

New poll puts personal privacy above homeland security

Policy 12.19.2014 / 01:35

Heart mobile phone

Apple, Google trump FBI; tech companies second-most trusted industry

In September, Apple announced that it would adopt new encryption technologies for its iPhone 6 that would use a code unique to the owner, to which the company would not have access and therefore could not provide the code to law enforcement even if served with a warrant. Google followed suit shortly afterward, announcing a similar policy for its Android phones. The FBI immediately expressed concern and called on Congress to pass legislation requiring manufacturers to provide law enforcement with access to their devices under a court order.

Fifty-six percent of those recently polled by Kantar's Benenson Strategy Group said companies like Apple and Google are doing the right thing, agreeing that law enforcement has access to more personal data than ever before, and people have a right to privacy that shouldn't be defeated by a back door that the company or law enforcement can break into without a citizen's knowledge.

Key Numbers

  • 56% agree with Apple and Google moves to instill more personal privacy
  • 44% agree that Apple and Google moves hinder homeland security

Forty-four percent said companies like Apple and Google are in the wrong, agreeing that the new technology takes away tools that police and law enforcement use to stop terrorism, catch pedophiles, and solve homicide cases; and that even if well-intentioned, these policies will result in justice being denied to real victims.

Support for the position of technology companies included 61% of Democrats, 55% of independents and 60% of voters under age 40.

Republicans were evenly split between the two arguments. There was also a large gap between men and women, with men supporting the technology companies' side of the argument by a 60%-40% margin and women more evenly divided at 52% to 48%.

Technology companies are among the most trusted industries we tested in the poll, ranking second after scientists, with 79% of voters saying tech companies were "very" or "somewhat" trustworthy compared to 21% who said they were not trustworthy.

Source: Benenson Strategy Group

Editor's Notes

The online survey of 993 likely 2016 voters was conducted by Kantar's Benenson Strategy Group from December 7-10, 2014 and has a margin of error for overall results of ±3.11%. To access BSG's "Beyond the Beltway" joint initiative with SKDKnickerbocker, click here. Follow @Kantar and sign up for our insights alerts.

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