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Consumer Fears About Online Privacy Abound

Have you ever had a conversation with someone about a brand or product, and then noticed ads for the very same company pop up in your social media feed or along a website’s margin — making you wonder if your phone was listening to you?

If you have, you’re not alone: Almost two-thirds of respondents to a recent Winston Privacy survey feel the same way, with 63% of people saying that they believe tech companies are listening to them on their devices.

The survey — which queried both men and women between the ages of 30 and 60 who live in the United States and have a household income of $75,000 or above — yielded a number of additional interesting data points, including:

  • More than 90% of respondents agreed that advertising companies should not be able to collect data about them without their consent
  • More than 70% are worried that their online activities make it easier to steal their identity or compromise their finances.
  • Nearly 40% believe that big tech companies pose a direct threat to our democracy.

These figures indicate a bleak reality: Consumers are concerned that their data privacy is not being respected, even though about 90% of respondents say their online privacy is very important to them — up 15% since Winston Privacy conducted a similar survey in 2018.

Yet all hope is not lost. Companies like Winston Privacy are actively working to reset the equilibrium and ensure consumers have a fighting chance when it comes to protecting their online privacy and security — and we’re optimistic that, as we continue to survey the landscape in the coming years, we’ll see more consumers who feel empowered to take back control of their personal information.

The full survey will be available in January — so stay tuned for more data points and insights on consumers’ views of data privacy.