A fifth of millennials would rather the U.S. government see what’s on their phone than their significant other


Breaches of personal data have big consequences. Ask any user of Ashley Madison. Ask executives at Sony. Ask Hillary Clinton’s campaign. And, as we learned from the recent Wikileaks dump, all those private messages you’re sending may not be so private.

So, if you had to choose, who would you rather have view what is on your phone? The government? Or your significant other?

Radware commissioned a survey, conducted online by Harris Poll in March, which posed that question to more than 2,200 Americans ages 18 and older. If you said significant other, you fall in line with the majority – overall, 89 percent said they’d rather have their spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend see what they have on their phone than the government.

Whether it’s a hacker dumping your emails or hacking your photos, or the government listening in, privacy is never guaranteed. Even though there are people we want to see our data and those we don’t.

The big surprise? Certain generations are more amenable to government snooping than others. Among millennials (ages 18-34), 20 percent would rather the government see the contents of their phone than their significant other compared to only 8 percent of adults ages 35 and older.

And while overall the same proportion of men and women favor significant others (89 percent for both) to the government (11 percent for both), millennials again stand out. Some 22 percent of men ages 18-34 would rather the government see what’s on their phone. Among women 18-34, the number is 18 percent. Millennial men and women are both more than twice as likely as their older counterparts to choose the government (8 percent each for men and women ages 35 and older).

[You might also like: Is the Internet Rolling Back our Freedoms?]

Do more younger Americans have something to hide from their significant others? Or have they simply abandoned the idea of privacy after growing up in a world where so much of their personal information is accessible and shareable with anyone in the world? Not to mention that everything from passwords to credit card   information to medical records routinely end up for sale on the Darknet.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that the overwhelming majority would rather share their digital lives with those they’re close to. But it will be interesting to see how the numbers shift and attitudes change as hackers and governments redefine our notions of privacy.

It underscores the need to better protect our right to privacy, in law, as part of the Constitution, and strengthen the defenses we throw up to regain control over who can see our data.

Survey Methodology:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Radware from March 30 – April 3, 2017 among 2,224 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.


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      • Paul. You must be a Millenial. Are you not aware of the many many stories where people have done nothing wrong have been persecuted and wrongly punished by the government? Have you not seen the many stories where the IRS has confiscated possessions of people particularly bank accounts, who have done nothing wrong? You don’t really get it, do you? The government is not a thing, it is a group of people. You give any group of people power to oppress others and some will use it incorrectly and abused it. The constitution in its near-perfect mess, recognized the feelings of humans and built in many sophisticated protections from that extremely human abuse of power. Once you get past 35, you will figure out that you have responsibility for yourself and for others. You don’t need some unknown self-proclaimed dictators to run the lives of your neighbors. You just need wisdom and civility.

        • No, Paul is right. If you have no compromising information on your phone, than there is nothing our government can do with that they could just as easily do WITHOUT it. Trust the government or not, there is precious little they can do with your messages or passwords except prosecute you for any actual crimes that information proves you have committed.

      • Sorry Paul, I can guarantee that I can start asking you questions that are at least embarrassing and some of the that will pull deceitful answers from you should you choose to answer them. This is true even though “you have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide”.

  1. It became increasingly difficult for me to estimate who sees my medical records, for example, given all the huge medical data bases out there that insurance companies (Auto, Medical and Life) use to buy, sell or share our medical info with, not to mention all the releases of liability and fine print about devulging our medical info to related “interested third parties” that we have to sign prior to seeing and being treated by a physician.
    Did anyone know when you swipe the Customer Service Discount card at the pharmacy, that even they compile your Rx history and pass that along to insurance data bases, State and Federal agencies (Health and Human Services, DEA, FDA).
    And yet there is so much bullshit about “Privacy Regulations
    ” that agencies like HIPPA use to assure us medial privacy but yet contain a myriad of disclaimers of who they do share with that we have to sign prior to treatment.
    Any entity that you DON’T WANT to see your mail or medical records are the VERY SAME ONES that can obtain a Supoena to get them!
    PRIVACY? I think not. I just assume my info is out there for anyone to see and stop worrying. What’s the point?

    • HIPPA is not an agency, it is an acronym and is more specifically a law r/t medical privacy. Not sure what discount card you are referring to but maybe you should be careful about what you sign up for. Medical records are only available on need to know basis, insurance Co. Needs to know to pay your bills. Pharmacy needs to know all of the meds you take so you don’t have a reaction or overdose. Drs need to know what medical problems you have to effectively treat you. Your next door neighbor on the other hand does not have access to your records, because he has no need to know.

      • All this data does not have to be available electronically. Doctors can keep hand written records in their office regarding medicines so they will not prescribe conflicting medicines. That way, only a doctor, nurse and/or a receptionist will see the records —
        PROOF!!– Medical records before a certain date are only accessible by a doctor because doctors used to make disparaging remarks about some of their patients after a visit,

        • They just took a doctor’s licence away for doing not being computerized. Evil twin Google the wolf and the Raven. One party has too much power right now they can do what they want. Get it passed the next administration revokes it. They knew better than to pull this crap on WWII generation. They knew how govt works and had outcry. Hippo generation sold out millennials don’t care. Taught to be conformists. Sign up for GB and consent they can use your smartphone. Why you have to identify? Excuse terrorism. Answer? Be outraged don’t cooperate be fearless. Who is up for it? Oh. No one?

        • And if a doctor has say.. 200 patients. Or 2000 in a practice that he or she shares with other doctors? If only there was some option to store and share data in a common format that could be accessed on demand.. that kinda crap could save countless lives from simple errors arising from hand written notes or human memory

          • Matt, that is the primary purpose of the electronic format for medicine. Unfortunately there are several systems competing for the business and currently they are not combatable with each other. Eventually this will change allowing the various types of Doctors you use to obtain your information from a central database. It is also apparent that the misuse of this data is problematic. Remember the government can obtain any information about you that it wants. Put another way YOU HAVE NO PRIVACY!!

    • Sadly I agree that pretending we have our privates is a joke. One way or another someone out there is, has or will use my personal info for whatever they want and how in the world will I ever be able to stop them? It could be anyone at anytime using my info. That really SUCKS, but how to stop it? I can’t and neither can anyone else.

      • I agree we can’t stop it. I get weekly calls from companies trying to get me to get back brases or diabetic supplies who I have never had previous contact with makes me wonder why I have to waste time signing a privacy letter when people know why I went to the doctor

    • The point is that no one wants to worry about their privacy, or “fight” to preserve it. So surrender to the “system”. You have no one to blame then except yourself!

    • You are absolutely right,why worry about a password and all that other bs when hackers can access the FBI,eqifacts,banks,credit cards and ect.if you are worried about your information being compromised nine times out of ten,it already is. This blog is an example,why do I have to enter my email to post a reply and if you think the drt.have time for u as a individual patient u are wrong,at the pharmacy are lucky to some one who knows what they are doing.this happened at Walgreens,walmart the same day.

    • Same here. Privacy is a joke, there is none. If it isn’t isn’t shared among all and sundry, the Govt has it and if they don’t the jackets will. Never share with ANYONE ANYTHING you don’t care to have publicized… even medical information to your Dr. Sad.

  2. Big brother crap. No, it does matter. I would vote to seriously curtail this spying and selling of our personal lives and to delete data after 1 year. Who’s with me??

      • It is not a matter of if you care who sees your information. A free people have a right to expect privacy from the government.
        That is the reason the people cant read Trumps tax info. That is hidden from all that can be hurt by what he is hiding. As a veteran with whom has put my life on the line for those “freedoms” would still rather that privacy is still respected. Even he is being court ordered to release his info to the government that promised him “privacy”. I will let you figure it out.

    • I would be all for that but you know it is not going to ever happen. My phone is tapped right now by law enforcement and I have no clue as to why guess I’ll just have to wait and see. But it’s not right that you can’t have any privacy anymore not even when it’s person to person in sure there’s some camera around some place seeing you. What is this world coming too. I feel sorry for our grandkids.

    • I am with you, so where do we start. We will have to get a group of leaders, define a statement of intent, raise capital and set up a budget . All this just to get started. You are correct, our personal affairs should be just that…Personal!! I am just throwing fuel on the fire but it may, just may be easier to set a time limit and after that all records are destroyed. I am curious as to what others think.

  3. If you live in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Elections in Richmond sells your voter information – name, address, birthdate, voter number, when you last voted, etc. – to imcubents, candidates, the Democratic
    & Republician Parties, PACs, and other organizations. There is mothing you can do about it. They don’t say if the buyers protect your info. Virginians are at their mercy.

  4. Well now so many up in arms about privacy. People choose to use the internet, smartphone, comp, etc.ive delt in intell ,psyops,etc for most of my adult life. I can assure all. Dont bothet its far to late. I suggest taking a different path. Read a book.

    • Thanks. I figured it was too late. I imagine govt has the capability to monitor and store data on every person in the country; where we go, what we eat, when we sleep, etc. We are truly screwed, nothing to do but watch it get worse or pretend it doesn’t matter.

  5. This article is disingenuous. It uses weasel wording to suggest, but not outright claim, that the government seeing one’s data is as bad as identity theft from a hacker.

    I would much rather the government look at my data. I’ve nothing to hide from either my spouse or the government, but you can bet your last dollar that my wife would make me explain every last thing she didn’t immediately understand. “What’s this phone number?” Automated emergency calls. “Why are you googling demon names?” For D&D ideas. “This guy texted you about a hot girl and you agreed!” Yeah, she’s a video game character, from that game you were interested in too. “What’s a ‘z-spectrum?’ It’s in your notes a lot.” It’s a math thing for work, don’t worry about it. “Why don’t you call your mom more? She loves and misses you.” OTL I give up.

  6. I’m on Kaisers hate list and so is anyone that rebuffs Kaisers daunting efforts to get women/men off Armour Thyroid (natural thyroid – been around for 129 years. It the reason why ,back 129 yrs. ago women were cured of mental disorders and could return home to their happy-to-see-them families. A pig farmer figured it out and that product is natural…not a chemical like any other chemical thyroid treatment I.e. Synthetic which, if you Google you will find comments of women fighting and demanding their right to take Armour but because pharmacy/prescription colleges are taught to prescribe Synthroid = synthetic thyroid to people who have a working thyroid and don’t need a synthetic med which would possibly kill the active thyroid, that’s courting tantamount homicide on the good thyroid. These women who fight for their right of choice and aren’t intimidated by a manipulative attack against our right for what is right for our bodies and the good results are self-evident, then who cares what the medical monolithes decree to be honest in their twisted greed minds. Answer: None of the still capable of thinking
    mindfully w/o the government/medical/law etc.. institutions manipulations ‘re our health.


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