The Snowden effect (contd.)

The Snowden effect continues. And affects not just companies getting nervous of the US cloud, but alsop, apparently, American internet users. Which in due course will affect US advertisers.

In the days after one of the most damning intelligence leaks since the birth of the Internet, polls were showing that average Americans felt sort of “meh” about the whole NSA-monitoring-our-calls-Skype-emails thing. But according to a new analysis from Annalect, a digital data and analytics firm, two months of ongoing discussion about online privacy have actually had major impacts on consumer behavior. Online consumers, riled by political sentiments or not, are changing their privacy and tracking settings–and if the trend continues, the advertising industry could be dinged in a significant way.

On June 10, nearly four days after journalist Glenn Greenwald published the Snowden scoop in the Guardian, a Washington Post-Pew Research Center Poll found that 56% of Americans felt that NSA monitoring was a-okay. In fact, government monitoring could go even further, 45% said, if it prevented terrorist attacks. Seven weeks later, the Annalect study, which began as a longitudinal investigation into consumer awareness of online privacy in early 2013 (before the Snowden kerfuffle), shows that collective sentiment may have shifted–consumer concern about online privacy actually jumped from 48% to 57% between June and July.

“This jump is largely from unconcerned Internet users becoming concerned–not from the normal vacillation found among neutral Internet users,” researchers wrote.