November 13, 2019

Report/Findings: “Concerns About Online Data Privacy Span Generations”

From the Internet Innovation Alliance:

In an effort to help inform policymakers about the views of Americans across generations on internet privacy, the Internet Innovation Alliance, in partnership with Icon Talks, the Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP), and the Millennial Action Project, commissioned a national study of U.S. consumers who have witnessed a steady stream of online privacy abuses, data misuses, and security breaches in recent years. The survey examined the concerns of U.S. adults—overall and separated by age group, as well as other demographics—regarding the collection and use of personal data and location information by tech and social media companies, including tailoring the online experience, the potential for their personal financial information to be hacked from online tech and social media companies, and the need for a single, national policy addressing consumer data privacy.

From the Executive Summary

This year, reflecting the views of more than 8,000 U.S. consumers. The research focuses particularly on the views of a large and important demographic in the United States – Millennial Americans – while at the same time providing important information about the views of other demographic groups including those of Generation X and the Baby Boom Generation. This report also offers information about other demographic segments and consumers of varying income levels.

Key findings include the following:

Today’s Millennial Americans are deeply concerned about the privacy of their online personal data. More specifically, a strong majority of Millennials – two-thirds (67%) – are worried about their personal financial information being hacked from the online/social media companies they use. Nearly three-quarters of Millennials (74%) are concerned about how online tech and social media companies are using their online data and location information for commercial purposes, and more than two-thirds of Millennials (69%) are “not OK” that online tech and social media companies collect and use their personal data in order to make online searches, advertisements, and content more relevant to them. Even larger percentages of older Americans – Generation Xers and Baby Boomers – have concerns about their online data privacy;

Concerns about online data privacy breaches are shared by Hispanics, Blacks, and Other Americans, and these concerns stretch across all geographic regions of the United States and income levels. For example, strong majorities of Hispanics (68%) and very strong majorities of Blacks (73%) are “not OK” that online tech/social media companies collect and use their personal data to make online searches, advertisements, and content more relevant;

A very strong consensus exists among Americans for a single, nationwide online data privacy law. The survey shows that support for a single, nationwide online data privacy law is held by Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers, as well as Americans of all ethnicities (Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and those reporting Other) and income levels. Likewise, support for a single, nationwide online data privacy law is strong among Americans living in Rural Areas, Suburbs, and Cities. The majority of Millennials (64%) believe a single, nationwide data privacy law is necessary. Overall, 72% of Americans believe there should be a “single, national policy addressing consumer data privacy rules in the United States.”

Based on the findings, IIA calls for the U.S. Congress to recognize that:

• Americans do not trust online tech and social media companies to protect their personal financial information.

• Americans do not want tech/social media companies to collect and use their personal data, even though such practices could make their online searches, advertisements and content more relevant.

• The vast majority of Americans want a single, national policy addressing consumer data privacy in the United States.

Direct to Full Text Report: Concerns About Online Data Privacy Span Generations
28 pages; PDF.

Direct to Full Text Report: Consumer Data Privacy Concerns
21 pages; PDF.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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