Heartland Monitor: Americans Concerned about Privacy, Trust Law Enforcement

Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll shows a healthy skepticism about data collection and surveillance, and varying degrees of trust in institutions to responsibly use personal information

Jun 06, 2013, 14:06 ET from The Allstate Corporation

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent headlines focusing on government collection of telephone records within the United States may further stoke the underlying worries that the American public has about data privacy and electronic surveillance. New figures from the quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll, which will be released in full on June 13, asked Americans their impression of the likelihood that their personal information is available to businesses, government, individuals and other groups without their consent.

A full 85 percent of Americans believe their communications history, like phone calls, emails and internet use, are accessible to businesses, the government and others.   

The poll - conducted days before the Verizon controversy erupted - also finds that just 48 percent of Americans have "some" or a "great deal" of trust in the government when it comes to the use of their personal data. Similarly, cell phone and internet service providers are trusted by just 48 percent of the public.

Americans are also divided on possible steps to improve national security, with just 10 percent supporting "expanded government monitoring of cell phone and email activities." Rather, the public is more likely to favor "increased use of camera surveillance of public places," with 44 percent supporting the measure, followed by "increased censorship of websites and less freedom to access sources on the Internet" (at 16 percent). However, a full 42 percent of respondents said they oppose all three options.

The full release of Heartland Monitor XVII will take place at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on Thursday June 13 at 8:30 a.m. Speakers and more information about the event entitled "All Eyes on Privacy: Transparency in the New Economy" can be found at:

Additional information on the polling series can be found at: http://www.theheartlandvoice.com/category/insights

Key Findings

Likelihood that communications history, like phone calls, emails and internet use information is available to business and government:

  • Very Likely – 58 percent
  • Somewhat Likely – 27 percent
  • Not very Likely – 8 percent
  • Not at all Likely – 6 percent

Percentage of respondents that trust in groups to responsibly use information:

  • The government - 48 percent
  • Cell phone and internet service providers – 48 percent        

Willing to support in the interest of improved national security:

  • Increased camera surveillance of public places – 44 percent
  • Increased censorship of websites and less freedom to access sources on the Internet – 16 percent
  • Expanded government monitoring of cell phone and email activities -10 percent
  • I don't support any of these options - 42 percent

Survey Methodology
Since April 2009, the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Polls have explored American attitudes on the changing economy. The most recent Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll, was conducted by FTI Consulting, from May 29June 2, 2013 among N=1,000 American adults age 18+. Respondents were reached via landline and cell phone. The sample margin of error for a sample of 1,000 respondents is +/- 3.1%.

About Allstate
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate branded insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services are offered through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com, www.allstate.com/financial and 1-800 Allstate®, and are widely known through the slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®." As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $29 million in 2012 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.

About National Journal Group National Journal is Washington's premier source for 360-degree insight on politics and policy. With up-to-the-minute breaking news and analysis at NationalJournal.com, the essential intelligence of National Journal Daily, the knowledge and depth of National Journal magazine, and the comprehensive campaign coverage of National Journal Hotline, National Journal delivers everything you need to know to stay ahead of the curve in Washington.

About FTI Consulting FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With over 3,900 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The Company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.


SOURCE The Allstate Corporation