More Americans Trust IRS Than Facebook with Privacy: Reason-Rupe Poll September 2013


"More people trust the IRS than they did Facebook for protecting their privacy," says Reason Foundation polling director Emily Ekins.

Ekins sat down with Reason TV's Paul Detrick to discuss this interesting finding as well as others that were found in the Reason-Rupe poll for September 2013. The poll in part took a look at how Americans felt about privacy and National Security Agency surveillance.

A question was included in the poll to see whom Americans trusted more with their privacy: Facebook, the Internal Revenue Service, Google or the NSA. The IRS came in at 33 percent; Facebook at 11 percent. Ekins says the reasoning may have to do with the amount of private information Americans upload to the social networking site.

With revelations in the Guardian, the Washington Post and other news publications about the NSA collecting phone data and internet records, the poll also asked whether people thought of the surveillance as primarily fighting terrorism or as a violation privacy. A majority of Americans at 55 percent saw it as a violation of privacy, which is in line with other polls that have asked Americans about the NSA's surveillance. Ekins says that independents, and particularly independents who lean Republican, were the most likely to say that the surveillance was a violation of privacy.

"And this is something that we often find in our polls, that a lot of libertarians are found in the group that identifies as independent, but they lean Republican," says Ekins. "But to that point, a lot of civil libertarians are found in the independent group, but they lean left.

For full poll results, check out

Approximately 4:23 minutes long.

Produced by Paul Detrick. Camera by Zach Weissmueller and Alex Manning.

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