1 in 6 People Feel That Once They Share Their Data Online It No Longer Belongs to Them

November 14, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

Customer-Centric | Digital | Email | Financial Services | Industries | Privacy & Security | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media

Research has found in the past that 8 in 10 people feel that they have little control over the data that companies are collecting about them. Perhaps as a result, some are simply resigned to losing ownership of their data: new survey results from Morning Consult indicate that 17% believe that the personal data they share online no longer belongs to them once they’ve shared it and that companies can use it without their permission.

Perhaps this sense of resignation owes to the practices that people encounter online. In one study, a shockingly low 24% of marketers said that they believed that they needed to obtain consumers’ consent to share their data with other companies.

Still, a healthy majority (70%) of people believe that the personal data they share online belongs to them and companies need their permission to use it. Marketers are recognizing that protection of personal data is a competitive advantage, and that this is a fundamental building block of consumer trust in brands.

People display different levels of concern surrounding the privacy and security of their data depending on the context. The most concern is expressed when allowing apps or websites access to location data (as cited by 80% of respondents). Ads from companies that consumers don’t know based on their location are deemed to be particularly “creepy.”

People are also concerned when downloading files from websites (80%), conducting online banking (76%), accepting cookies on websites (74%), creating new accounts on apps or websites (74%) and sharing health information with apps or websites (74%).

As regards new apps or websites, there are certain actions that can be taken to secure trust. About 7 in 10 respondents said that they would totally trust an app or website they were using for the first time to safely and responsibly handle their private data if it gave users the option to delete their stored personal data. Close behind, about two-thirds would totally trust its data security if it gave users the option to review their stored personal data (68%) and specifically listed the information it stores (67%). Previous research has shown that brands can improve trust be allowing people to easily delete the data they’ve provided.

On the other end of the spectrum, certain actions are red flags. Most consumers won’t entirely trust a new website or app’s data security if it requires them to turn off ad blockers (57%), asks for payments in cryptocurrency (63%), or asks for information without explaining how it would be used (69%). Most egregiously, three-quarters (74%) will not give their full trust to the data privacy practices of an app or website that doesn’t specify what it does with users’ personal information.

Other Survey Highlights:

  • The privacy and security of online data is easily the most important consideration people have when using online banking and email. It’s also the top consideration, though to a lesser extent, when shopping online, using social media, and using a search engine. Other considerations are more important, however, when using a wearable device (the value it provides), seeing an ad online (the value it providers), or using a ride-hailing service (the experience as a user).
  • Only about 4 in 10 (39%) completely understand how their personal information can be misused if it is leaked, although almost half (46%) somewhat understand this.
  • Roughly 1 in 5 fully understands how apps or companies track their online behavior (22%) and how apps or companies share their information with others (21%).
  • In the event of a data breach involving an email service provider or social media company, respondents would be most concerned about their identity. A breach of an online dating app/company or of a ride-hailing company would make them most concerned about their personal safety, while a breach of an online retailer or an online bank would have them most worried about their finances.

For more, check out the survey results here.

About the Data: The results are based on an October survey of 1,100 US adults (18+).

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