SOURCE: SpiderOak


September 24, 2013 08:00 ET

Government, Corporations Threaten Our Privacy, Survey Finds

Survey of Over 7,600 Cloud Storage Users Shows Users Must Take Privacy Into Their Own Hands

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Sep 24, 2013) - SpiderOak, the 'Zero-Knowledge' privacy cloud technologies provider, has announced the findings of its first-annual State of Privacy survey. The survey, completed by 7,661 respondents, explored perceptions about online privacy -- who violates it, how concerned users are, and who is responsible for protecting it. Complete survey findings are summarized in a report now available here.

"Our survey findings validate the need for a privacy-first approach, where privacy is integrated at the platform level," said SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman. "People are becoming increasingly aware of how exposed they are online. Whereas historically this was limited in scope to private companies, we have now learned a great deal more about government surveillance and its pervasiveness. In the end, both the organizations and government programs remain inert -- leaving users with little choice but to take privacy into their own hands."

Concerns About Government Interference

It has already been established that the majority of Internet users are worried about privacy online [1]. But what, specifically, are people worried about? In a word, the government. Respondents made it clear that the NSA's PRISM scandal left a scar.

When we asked respondents how they felt about the NSA's surveillance program:

  • 65% reported feeling less safe
  • 26% felt ambivalent about it
  • 4.5% felt safer
  • 4% didn't know about the program

When asked to rank the below entities from most threatening to online privacy to least threatening, we found that, on average, people view the government as most threatening. Private companies, such as Google, Facebook and Apple, rank second, followed by marketers and hackers.

Holding Corporations Responsible

Is the onus of preserving privacy on the government, corporations or users? Respondents pointed towards the private sector for responsibility. 86% of people think that private companies such as Google and Facebook have an obligation to develop products that put privacy first.

When it comes to taking action, however, Internet users know that they have little choice but to take matters into their own hands. 77% of Internet users see the protection of privacy as being their own responsibility. An uptick in the awareness of privacy-first technologies, such as SpiderOak, corroborates that finding.

Meanwhile, 23% of users place responsibility into the hands of private corporations or government legislation. This is an interesting finding, considering that we hold the law responsible and accountable for the physical protection of our privacy. Users seem to realize that stalled initiatives, such as the Right to Privacy Act, are moving too sluggishly to be applicable. Users feel obligated to take ownership over their privacy. 

How Do We Store Data, Anyway?

Despite the popularity of the cloud, respondents showed us that the hard drive is still a mainstay for data storage. The cloud, it turns out, still has plenty of room to grow.

  • 50% of users store their data on a hard drive
  • 32% store data on the cloud
  • 8% use physical file systems, flash drives or optical disks, such as CDs and DVDs

As users continue to adopt cloud technologies, privacy considerations will drive the choice of providers. Given consumers' concerns about interference by government and private corporations, integrating privacy into the cloud is a sustainable competitive advantage for companies, and an ongoing asset for users.

About the State of Privacy Survey

The State of Privacy survey gauges the online community's perceptions of online privacy -- the situation, the risks, the responsibilities. The survey is administered by SpiderOak, the 'Zero-Knowledge' privacy cloud technologies provider. SpiderOak derived statistics from an online survey of 7,883 customers and non-customers. SpiderOak customers range from individual consumers to small- to mid-size businesses to large corporations and government agencies.


[1] AdWeek, "Study: NSA Scandal Still Setting Privacy Alarm Bells Among Consumers," 13 August 2013.

About SpiderOak

SpiderOak provides a cloud backup, sync, and sharing environment that is 100% private. Our 'Zero-Knowledge' Privacy Standard ensures absolute confidentiality between you and your data, everywhere, every time and from every device. With SpiderOak, you maintain full and complete control of your data in a centralized, managed and fully protected environment. SpiderOak: we've got your back(up).

Contact Information

  • Media contact:
    Sammy Totah
    BOCA Communications
    Email Contact