ExpressVPN survey: Americans doubt they’ll get more power over their data

Jamie

Jamie is always hungry. He also writes about digital privacy in exchange for sandwiches.

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The vast majority of Americans want more control over who shares their personal data but are not confident that they will get it, a new ExpressVPN survey has found.

An overwhelming 89% of Americans surveyed think they should be able to choose whether technology companies (like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Verizon) can share their online personal data, but only 52% think big tech will do more to let them choose in 2019.

In a similar vein, 82% think Congress should do more in 2019 to regulate how technology companies collect and process online personal data, but less than half think this will happen.

This is understandable—2018 was in many ways the year when people became aware of how much of their personal data was being shared by Facebook, and the series of breaches and leaks has put into painful perspective just how little control consumers have over what is shared about them online.

“Online privacy is rapidly becoming a key ‘kitchen table’ issue in America,” said Harold Li, vice president of ExpressVPN. “It’s no surprise, given what a disastrous year 2018 was for data privacy and security—beginning with news of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and ending with data breaches at Marriott, Quora, and Google all being revealed within days of one another.”

“Privacy is a fundamental right, and internet users should be in control of their personal data and how it should be used.”

There have been initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic, such as the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe and the proposed Data Care Act in the United States, but it remains to be seen whether consumers will regain real control over the personal data that companies are storing about them.

The survey was commissioned by ExpressVPN and questioned 1,010 U.S. consumers age 18 and over on November 27, 2018.

Q1: Do you think you should be able to choose whether technology companies (like Google, Facebook, Apple, Verizon) can share your online personal data?

89% – Yes
11% – No

Q2: Who do you think should be responsible for deciding whether technology companies (like Google, Facebook, Apple, Verizon) can share your online personal data without your permission? (select one)

12% – Technology companies
19% – US Congress
34% – Both
36% – Neither

 Q3: Do you think Technology companies (like Google, Facebook, Apple, Verizon) SHOULD do more in 2019 to self-regulate how they collect and share your online personal data?

90% – Yes
10% – No

Q4: Do you think Technology companies (like Google, Facebook, Apple, Verizon) WILL do more in 2019 to self-regulate how they collect and share your online personal data?

52% – Yes
48% – No

Q5: Do you think U.S. Congress SHOULD do more in 2019 to regulate how technology companies collect and process your online personal data?

82% – Yes
18% – No

Q6: Do you think U.S. Congress WILL do more in 2019 to regulate how technology companies collect and process your online personal data?

40% – Yes
60% – No

Q7: Which party do you trust to do a better job handling issues related to online privacy and security?

46% – Republican Party
54% – Democratic Party

Q8: Which of these two issues do you think should be more of a priority for U.S. Congress in 2019?

43% – Online privacy
57% – Immigration

Q9: Which of these two issues do you think should be more of a priority for U.S. Congress in 2019?

25% – Online privacy
75% – Healthcare

Jamie writes about current issues concerning digital privacy and security and is known to interview leading figures in tech. He also keeps an eye on changes in government censorship and surveillance.