NOTE: This post was originally published on May 18, 2018
ExpressVPN, a leading VPN provider, today announced the results of a new survey. The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults age 18+, conducted online by Propeller Insights on behalf of ExpressVPN in April 2018, found that data security is top of mind for the vast majority of Americans, that trust in tech companies is low, and that a majority of Americans are in favor of net neutrality regardless of political leaning.
In Amazon We Trust (a Little)
Almost three-quarters of Americans (71 percent) are concerned with how brands collect and use their personal data. Americans have the least amount of trust in Uber (5 percent), Snapchat (6 percent), and Twitter (8 percent), but a full third (34 percent) don’t trust any tech companies with their digital privacy.
The tech companies Americans trust most include:
- Amazon — 30 percent
- Google — 27 percent
- Apple — 22 percent
- Microsoft — 22 percent
In spite of the recent scandal, 19 percent of Americans also still trust Facebook.
“With headlines reminding us daily that companies are collecting our personal data and either misusing or failing to safeguard it, it’s no wonder that Americans are becoming more protective of their data and more skeptical of the digital brands with whom they do business,” said Harold Li, Vice President of ExpressVPN. “People are really waking up to the need to take their online privacy and security into their own hands.”
Nearly All Americans Worry About Data Security
Nine in 10 Americans worry about online privacy and data security, particularly identity theft (54 percent) and credit card fraud (16 percent).
More than half (55 percent) also worry about having their conversations monitored through smart home devices, with Amazon’s Alexa devices, such as the Echo (29 percent), and Google Home (25 percent) at the top of the list.
A majority of Americans (68 percent) feel concerned for their security on the internet. In particular, they feel most nervous about:
- Banking and financial transactions — 45 percent
- Online shopping — 15 percent
- Using public Wi-Fi — 15 percent
Majority of Americans Distrust Internet Providers and Government Surveillance
Seventy-six percent of Americans also agree that broadband service providers should not have the right to sell customers’ internet activity information to other companies.
It’s not just corporations that are causing concern. Sixty-one percent of Americans are concerned their privacy will be compromised as a result of government surveillance.
“Increased concerns about online security and privacy are a key reason more and more Americans are turning to VPNs,” added Li. “The secure encryption of a VPN helps protect personal data and devices, whether from hackers on a public Wi-Fi network, internet providers who want to sell browsing histories to advertisers, or mass government surveillance programs.”
In the week following Congress’ vote in late March to allow ISPs to sell the personal data of their customers, ExpressVPN saw a huge spike in demand—subscriptions in the U.S. were up 97 percent month over month and 204 percent year over year. Demand hasn’t abated since, making the U.S. one of ExpressVPN’s largest and fastest-growing markets.
Majority of Americans in Favor of Net Neutrality
The majority of Americans (72 percent) worry about the future of the internet without net neutrality. In the absence of net neutrality, Americans believe their broadband providers will:
- Prioritize companies which pay to play — 80 percent
- Force customers to pay extra to access some websites and apps — 78 percent
- Slow down the transmission of certain types of data — 76 percent
- Block certain websites and content — 75 percent
Half of Americans say a candidate’s stance on net neutrality would sway their vote, with twice as many (34 percent) saying it would positively impact their vote as those who say it would negatively impact it (16 percent). What’s more:
- 59 percent of American men would be swayed, with 43 percent in favor
- 59 percent of American women would not be swayed one way or the other
- 57 percent of Millennials would be swayed, with 35 percent in favor
- Just 17 percent of Democrats and Republicans would vote against a candidate because of the candidate’s support of net neutrality
About half of Americans (49 percent) consider internet service a public utility, similar to water and gas.