Americans reluctant to pay for privacy

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According to a new survey from the Center for Data Innovation, only one in four Americans want online services such as Google and Facebook to collect less of their data if it means they would have to start paying a monthly subscription fee.

Other surveys have gauged Americans' ideas regarding online privacy but few have asked about such tradeoffs which is why the organisation decided to test their reactions to a series of likely consequences of reducing online data collection.

The survey found that when potential tradeoffs were not part of the question, approximately 80 per cent of Americans agreed they would like Google, Facebook and other online services to collect less of their data.

However, support waned once respondents considered these tradeoffs. Initial agreement dropped by six per cent when respondents were asked whether they would like online services to collect less data even if it meant seeing ads that are less useful. Support dropped by 27 per cent when they considered whether the would like less data collection even it means seeing more ads than before.

Collecting user data

The largest drop in support by 53 per cent arose when respondents were asked whether they would like online services to collect less data if it meant they had to pay a monthly subscription fee with only 27 per cent agreeing with reducing data collection in this circumstance.

The Center for Data Innovation's survey also gauged American's willingness to have online services collect more data in exchange for various benefits. The survey found when potential benefits were not part of the question, approximately 74 per cent of Americans are opposed to having online services collect more of their data.

This figure decreased by 11 per cent when respondents considered whether they would like online services to collect more data if it meant seeing ads that were more useful.

The largest decrease in opposition (18%) occurred when they were asked whether they would like online services to collect more of their data if it meant getting more free apps and services with 16 per cent supporting such a tradeoff, 63 per cent opposed and the remaining respondents did not take a position on the issue.

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