Americans Are Increasingly Concerned About Their Online Privacy
As we near the end of the decade, one of the larger issues over the last ten years has been the collection of personal data from corporations and governments. It's increasingly difficult to do anything online or go anywhere without having countless data points on you being collected.
According to Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans are concerned about the state of their privacy and personal information. More than 60% of U.S. adults now believe it's impossible to go through a single day without corporations or the government collecting data about them. Shockingly, more than 80% of adults believe they have little to no control over the data corporations and the government collect.
Americans have little faith in the security of their personal data. The report found that 70% of adults believe their personal data is less secure than it was five years ago. Only 6% of them believe their personal data is now more secure than it was five years ago. This is hardly surprising, especially given news of data breaches is almost a weekly occurrence now.
2019 is on track to be a record year for security incidents. Through November, there has been 5,183 data breaches and 7.9 billion records exposed in the U.S., according to Risk Based Security. That represents a 33% increase in the number of breaches and 112% increase in the volume of records exposed since the third quarter of 2018. The report has two possible explanations of what may be causing the increase in security incidents. The first explanation is companies that suffer security incidents are being more transparent. The second explanation is the volume of personal data now being collected by organizations has increased.
Americans overwhelmingly believe they are being tracked whether online or offline. 72% of adults believe that all, almost all or most of what they do online or on their cellphone is tracked by advertisers or companies. Nearly half, or 47%, believe the same is true for the government tracking them. Even more disturbing, 69% and 56% of adults believe corporations and the government, respectively, are tracking their offline activities such as who they talk to or their location.
Rightfully so, Americans have the most concerns about social media companies. 85% of adults are at least a little concerned about the amount of personal information social media sites know about them. It seems like not a week goes by where Facebook or Google aren't apologizing for some data mishap. These companies are unlikely to change as long as they continue to get off paying fines that amount to fractions of what they're earning by abusing user data.
Things are drastically different now than they were when the decade began. Social media and other technology companies have become intertwined in so many routine daily tasks. Furthermore, there's been countless examples of the government working with these very same companies. As we head into the new decade, it will be interesting to see if individuals can be confident their privacy is respected or if things only get worse.
They're willing to sell more shares. Saudi Aramco will exercise its 15% greenshoe option, in part or full, during the first 30 days of trading, according to the lead manager. A greenshoe option grants the underwriter the right to sell investors additional shares. If exercised in full, the IPO could raise nearly $30 billion. 1.5% of Aramco begin trading on the Saudi Stock Exchange tomorrow, making it the most valuable company in the world and largest IPO ever.
Exxon exonerated. Exxon Mobil won its securities-fraud case in New York after a lawsuit alleged the company didn't disclose the financial costs of climate change to investors. New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office was seeking between $476 million and $1.6 billion in restitution for investors. "The office of the Attorney General failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that ExxonMobil made any material misstatements or omissions about its practices and procedures that misled any reasonable investor," wrote New York Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager.
Wall Street is paying up for innovation. Financial services companies have invested a record $8 billion into startups this year, according to a new report by CB Insights. Nearly half of the 329 deals so far this year have come from banks, with Citigroup and Goldman Sachs leading the way. Goldman has invested in six unicorns, defined as startups with valuations greater than $1 billion, which is more than all other financial services companies. Since 2014, financial services venture deals have increased by 500%.
There's no inflation. Disney is having a record-setting year at the box office as the company's films have grossed approximately $10 billion so far. Disney has broken its own record of $7.6 billion, which it set in 2016. Disney has released five films that have hauled in at least $1 billion, with Frozen II and the new Star Wars film, which will be released later this month, expected to make it seven. Adding in the Fox titles it acquired through its acquisition of 20th Century Fox earlier this year, the total jumps to nearly $12 billion. However, the average cost of a movie ticket was $9.11 in 2018, nearly double the average cost throughout the 90s.
They're losing their appeal. Facebook dropped 16 spots in Glassdoor's 2020 "Best Places to Work" list. The social network fell for the second-consecutive year to 23rd in the rankings after reaching the top spot in 2018. Google and Apple fell to 11th and 84th, respectively, while Amazon failed to make the list. The top three companies on the list are HubSpot, Bain & Company and DocuSign. "Employees continue to call out that the mission of the company is part of what drives them," Glassdoor Community Expert Sarah Stoddard said.