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Political Affiliation Influences Our Fear of Data Collection

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An American flag superimposed over 1s and 0s.

Instead of trusting or distrusting government surveillance based on which party is in power, Americans need to demand transparency into how the government as a whole is gaining access to and using their data.

Credit: Matt Anderson Photography/Getty Images

Over the past year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made more than three million warrantless queries on the data of U.S. residents collected by both the government and private companies. A shrinking share of Americans support such warrantless government surveillance, yet we have not effectively advocated against the growing surveillance of our personal data.

That is because we are not taking a principled view on government surveillance as a whole. Instead, we are starting to see viewpoints devolve into ostracization and hatred of the "other." Our research suggests that Americans' fears about government surveillance change based on who is in power and what we fear that political party may do with our data.

From Scientific American
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