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Poll: On Privacy, IRS and NSA Deemed More Trustworthy Than Facebook and Google

Even in the wake of the NSA data collection scandal, and amidst on-going wariness of the IRS, Americans trust these organizations to protect their privacy and personal information far more than they trust Facebook and Google to do the same.


The latest Reason-Rupe poll surveyed Americans about their level of trust in these groups, as well as cell phone companies and internet service providers. The NSA and IRS fared best, yet only 11 percent of respondents said they trusted them “a lot.” Just two percent said they trusted Facebook “a lot.”

Over six in 10 Americans, 61 percent, say they do not trust Facebook "at all" to protect their privacy and another 15 percent say they only trust Facebook "a little." Google has similar trust problems with 48 percent saying they do not trust the company to protect their privacy at all and 19 percent say they trust Google a little.

For comparison, 45 percent of Americans say they do not trust the IRS to protect their privacy at all and 18 percent trust the IRS a little. Four in 10 Americans do not trust the NSA to protect their privacy and 19 percent trust the agency a little.

Despite reports detailing NSA surveillance of the phone records of ordinary Americans and news that intelligence agencies have broken the encryption codes that protect internet users’ private information, about a third of Americans trust their cellular phone providers and internet service providers to protect their privacy at least somewhat, 32 and 29 percent, respectively.


Nationwide telephone poll conducted September 4-8 2013 interviewed 1013 adults on both mobile (509) and landline (504) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results found here. Full methodology can be found here.

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