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Many in B.C. not ready to trust technology with personal information: poll

Last Updated Apr 16, 2019 at 9:01 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Call it the Edward Snowden effect.

The NSA whistleblower warned us to cover out mobile and laptop cameras years ago, and now, the latest Insights West poll shows six in 10 British Columbians worry their cameras are being used to watch them.

From “smart appliances being taken over by strangers” to voice assistants like “Alexa” being tracked, it turns out a lot of us are concerned about our privacy.

The survey found 33 per cent of people polled in B.C. went so far as to cover the cameras on their laptops to protect themselves, while 75 per cent of people said they are worried about their online financial data.

A new poll from Insights West has found many British Columbians are worried about the privacy of their online information, as well as behaviour. (Source: Insights West)

Findings show people between the ages of 18 and 34 are the most worried, with younger British Columbians saying they’re less likely to believe their online information is safe.

“Me, I cover my camera on my phone,” one woman tells NEWS 1130. “I don’t get paranoid about my phone being tapped or anything like that, but I do definitely feel like some sites I do look at sometimes hack into your phone.”

As Albertans head to the polls, and a fall federal election looms, the poll has also found 74 per cent of us fear social media is being used to unfairly influence voters.

“Don’t click links unless you know what they are… when it comes to the election, don’t let social media adds sway you on getting Justin Trudeau out of office,” one man advises.

Other fears flagged in the Insights West survey include the concern that tapping a debit or credit card could make a person vulnerable.

While paranoia has much to do with fearing corporations, it’s not limited to that — governments have us nervous, too.

“The U.S. is the worst with the Patriot Act,” another man says. “If they want to know something, they’ll just be like ‘Oh no, you’re a terrorist, we’re going to find it out anyways.’ And then you have things like Facbeook — they sell your data off to some company which affects elections. It’s just getting ridiculous, they’re not keeping up with the times.”

Despite the great majority of the world’s data being stored over seas, almost a third of Canadians say they’d rather have their digital information stored in this country.