BIG BROTHER

Which countries do people most trust with their data? “None of the above.”

In a survey of Quartz readers earlier this summer, we asked:

“Which countries do you trust with your data and personal information?”

The most common answer? “None of the above,” chosen by 54% of the respondents. In contrast, only 35% chose “none of the above” when asked which companies they trusted. Two thirds of people trust a company while less than half trust a government.

The most trusted country? Canada, which was trusted by 23% of the survey audience, beating out the United States at 18%, Germany at 17%, Switzerland at 14%, and Australia, the UK, and New Zealand tying at 12%.

Some countries were trusted much more by their own citizens, especially Canada and New Zealand, at 68% and 64% of their citizens, respectively. Australia and the UK scored 39% and 34%, respectively. The laggard: the US, where only 25% of citizens trust the government with their data and personal information.

This lack of trust could be an issue as the US government grapples with regulating the big tech companies. In the US, 83% of respondents told us that they thought AI should be regulated. But if only 25% trust the government with their data and personal information, will they trust it to regulate the companies that collect such data?

Especially when you consider that those same people trust three of those companies more than they trust the US government: 50% trust Amazon, 41% trust Apple, and 40% trust Google. Facebook is a different story though. Only 19% of those in the US trust Facebook. And since Facebook is currently the biggest regulatory target in Washington for its role in spreading fake news and Russian-funded political ads, that means it doesn’t have many friends.

Notes: The survey of 1,640 Quartz readers was conducted July 8 – July 15, 2017. The demographics of the survey audience are a representative sample of the Quartz global business readership.

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