Americans Share Their Sentiment on Digital Tracking and Shared Data [Survey]

February 17, 2017

There’s no doubt about it: as long as you use technology, you are being tracked. Between Google searches, loyalty reward apps, Uber rides, and Facebook check-ins, there is nothing we do that isn’t transformed into a data point to be monitored, stored, and oftentimes, sold. What’s more is that most people don’t even realize how “not private” their online privacy really is.

We surveyed 1,000 Americans from all over the country to find out what their sentiments are regarding the amount and type of digital tracking that is happening to them during their daily lives. Check out the infographic below to view all the ways that data is being collected on the average person daily.

At this point, the idea of sharing your personal information with a company is no longer novelty but the norm—it’s a given to use the phone, the app, the social media platform, the streaming service, the latest game. However, as we discovered in our recent survey, the kind of data being collected and what it’s being used for is far from what the average person assumes when they click “YES” to the fine print. 

Additionally, only 5% of people surveyed claim to actually read the Terms of Service, leaving 95% of users unaware of what kind of personal information they signed away.  

For each ride taken via Uber, each search question posed to Google, each reaction clicked on Facebook, your digital footprint is being captured and cached, ready to be used in whatever way a company deems fit. For example, Facebook keeps track of 98 information points about your activity on Facebook in order to get an idea of who you are. 

Retailers use loyalty cards and credit card data to track your purchases and what type of customer you are, therefore how they can directly market to you. For each website visit, cookies are created, which can track your IP address, language, operation system and time zone—sometimes even your battery life. If this is starting to sound like digital stalking, it is. 

This kind of predictive practice is extremely common, yet most people are not comfortable with it, or do not know how to opt out. Apparently, 82% of respondents say they mind that they are being tracked by third parties, yet only 3% of those surveyed claim to avoid online shopping because of a fear of being tracked. This data tells us that while we might not like it, we are passively allowing it just by using modern technology, that privacy is the price we pay for convenience.

 As the infographic shows, there are ways to limit or turn off tracking for more control over the personal data being shared. By using the private browsing function and disabling cookies, regularly clearing Internet history and manually adjusting app location settings, people can regain some control over their digital footprint. Above all else, being aware and informed is the most secure way to preserve your privacy, both online and off. Privacy should always be at a premium.

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