Generation Z is one of the most concerned about sharing their location data with the government

Ruth C. | January 27, 2021

It is no secret that tech companies have shared their user information with governments in the past. This makes many Americans feel uncomfortable with how their data is handled.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 50% of the adults born in Generation Z feel very uncomfortable sharing their location data, including where they had traveled, with the government. Along with the Baby Boomer generation, they are the most concerned about their personal data privacy.

The data is based on the Morning Consult survey conducted between the 1st and the 4th of December, 2020. The Morning Consult interviewed 2,200 adults (ages 18 or older) from the United States on their feelings about their location data being shared with the government so that the latter could better track Americans' locations.

Each generation is distinct in its own way. After all, every one of them was brought up under different historical, economic, and cultural circumstances that shape their outlook of the world. The latter also impacts how protective they are of their personal data.

Generation Z and Baby Boomers are two generations furthest apart from each other of the ones included in the survey. However, they share similar sentiments when it comes to the privacy of their data.

As mentioned before, 50% of adults born in Generation Z (1997-2012) are very uncomfortable with tech companies sharing their data with the government. Nevertheless, 15% of people born in this generation feel secure with the government knowing their whereabouts, with only 6% saying they are very comfortable.

Similarly, 17% of Baby Boomers (1946-1964) said they feel safe about the government tracking their location, with 6% stating they feel very secure with the situation. In contrast, 54% are highly uncomfortable with the sharing of their location data.

Millennials (1981-1996) and Generation X (1965-1980), however, are a little more positive about their location data being known to the government. Overall, 13% of Millenials are very confident with sharing their whereabouts, while 40% are strongly against it. In the meantime, 14% of adults born in Generation X are highly comfortable sharing their location data, and 46% of Gen Xers feel the opposite.

People are less concerned when data is used for the COVID-19 tracking

All adult groups are more comfortable about their location data being shared with the government if it is for the purpose of Coronavirus tracking.

The number of Generation Z respondents who would feel very insecure about their location data being shared under such circumstances dropped by 6%, from 50% to 44%. When it comes to Baby Boomers, the number of those who feel very uncomfortable with such data sharing decreased by 7%, from 54% to 47%.

Gen Xers that feel very unconfident with the government tracking their location data fell by 5% from 46% to 41% after being told that the data would be used for COVID-19 tracking. In the meantime, the number of such Millennials declined by 6%, from 40% to 34%.

Non-college graduates least trust the government with their data

Most people feel uneasy about their personal data, such as their location, being shared with the government. Nevertheless, it seems that higher education levels in adults lead to higher trust in the government with their data.

Overall, 74% of American adults that had not completed a college education feel uncomfortable with the government tracking their whereabouts.

While 51% of non-college graduates said they are very insecure about the situation, 23% are somewhat uncomfortable. In contrast, only 7% reported they are very confident with the government tracking their whereabouts, while 11% feel somewhat comfortable.

Other adult groups in the US feel slightly less pessimistic about the tech companies sharing their location data with the government. In total, 45% of adults with Bachelor's degrees feel very unsafe with the government having their location data, while the number drops to 32% when it comes to adults with Postgraduate education.

Alex T.

Ruth C.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Interested in cybercrime, online security, and privacy-related topics.

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Data privacylocation trackinggovernment