How Much Do You Trust Apple and Google?

Who would you put at the top of your list of most trusted companies?

America has spoken, and according to the report conducted by the Ponemon Institute, mobile tech leaders Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) didn’t make the cut this year. The winners instead were American Express (NYSE:AXP), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), IBM (NYSE:IBM), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), while Apple and Google, which last year ranked 14th and 19th respectively, fell completely out of the top 20.

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“There’s been a lot of media coverage about companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple, and privacy,” explains Ponemon executive director Susan Jayson. “Consumers are concerned about their privacy, and this kind of media exposure, plus their personal experiences, all contribute to people getting concerned.”

The primary concern of over half of the 7,000 respondents was identity theft, and VentureBeat notes that many people “remembered receiving at least one data breach notification in the past year, telling them that the company had some kind of intrusion or leak that had exposed their personal data.”

“Protection against identity theft keeps coming up in our research,” adds Jayson. “People are very concerned about becoming the target of a thief…which includes medical identity theft and credit card identity theft.” She notes the complications of the fact that so much personal data can be contained within a single Google identity or Apple iCloud account.

In this new era of extreme connectivity, Americans are clinging to privacy — a fact that is evidenced by more than just their opinions of certain tech companies. Survey participants also felt that the U.S. government was increasingly threatening their privacy. “People are getting concerned about government intrusion into their lives,” says Jayson. “Government surveillance via drones, and agencies like the TSA and DHS.”

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