Americans Not Eager to Pay For Online Privacy

According to a study by the Centre for Data Innovation 79.8% of Americans want tech companies like Google and Facebook to collect less personal data. However, only 26.7% agreed when asked whether they will pay for a monthly subscription to hide their data online.

This attitude is referred to as “Privacy Paradox” where people want to stay protected but don’t want to pay for it.

 The Survey in a Nutshell


The survey by the Centre of Data Innovation reveals that Americans are less likely to trade off online privacy with some bucks. However, 75% of respondents agreed that tech firms like Facebook and Google should not bombard creepy ads that seem to know everything about you; it rather should serve generic ads (which might not apply to you).

The study’s findings came from a national poll of 3,240 U.S. adults which used the internet between December 13, 2018, to December 16, 2018.

Only one out of four Americans want that tech giant should collect less data if they start a monthly subscription. However, when tradeoff with a monthly subscription was not asked, 80% of the respondents were supporting that Google and Facebook should not collect their data. That support eroded when a tradeoff with a monthly subscription was asked.

Human Nature and Subscription Costs

It is easy to understand why such results are surfacing. Because:

1. The Internet has been a free tool

2. Google and Facebook are offering their services for free.


Imagine if the Facebook charge for its monthly usage and a new social site appears which offers free services then users will simply bid farewell to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. In the case of Google, there always is one search engine that would be free so why pay? That’s human psyche!

Similarly, why would someone opt for a subscription for online privacy when he has used the internet for free for years. It just not makes any sense, yet it is inevitable and cannot be ignored.

Although online privacy is something that which seen from a cynical perspective is like a gangster warning you that “if you do not want something bad happens to your data then pay us the monthly fee and keep yourself secured.”

Is Collecting Data The Ultimate Solution?


According to the survey, 74% of the users were against the collection of data for good reasons. These numbers indicate that people do not want personal data to be shared with anyone, even if it is for a good cause.

However, the percentage dropped down to 56% when free features were added and fewer ads were promised. This was the most compelling tradeoff as a number of features were a tradeoff with online privacy.

“Consumer preferred choosing data sharing when asked to

trade it off with low cost (or free) and better features.”

This attitude of the consumer is quite predictable as imposing privacy restrictions will reduce the services they enjoy and will also affect the quality and liberty to enjoy the service.

However, in 2018 only more than 668 data breaches took place in the U.S. with more than 22 million records exposed. It is undoubtedly inevitable to protect yourself with a VPN service that has saved many from a potential data breach.

Is Online Privacy is Expensive?


One reason that legislation on privacy is a dream in the US is that a majority does not want to spend on their online privacy. The study by the center of innovation depicts that only a one-quarter of an American citizen are eager to pay a monthly subscription fee to stay protected online while others do not care.

It is commonly presumed that online privacy is expensive and is an added expense on budget. However, the picture is quite the opposite of what it seems like. The Fastest VPN, as expensive as ExpressVPN, can be as cheap as 0.27 cents per day, which offers wholesome privacy protection with ample of features. So what is the excuse? Is your data privacy not even worth some cents? We leave the decision to you!

 What is a Possible Solution?


A long term solution has to be put in place before another massive breach takes place. Americans need to take their online privacy seriously as increased risks online often lead to life threats.

If Americans are not willing to pay a single dollar for their online safety, then it is up to the tech giants to play a responsible role and reduce data retention practices.

US legislators should encourage their citizens to learn how inevitable it is to keep your online data private in the time where the internet is taking on everything.

Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the started.