Three-quarters of Americans don’t want companies selling their private data

Half of Americans know they were victims in a large data breach, according to new research.

The study of 2,000 people examined the concerns people have when it comes to their personal data privacy, as they realize just how much personal information they share online.

Eighty-three percent of people expect to have control over how their data is used at a business, and eight in 10 Americans think there should be a law to protect their personal data.

Three-quarters of respondents also expressed their apprehension about companies selling or sharing their personal data with third parties — and would even be willing to pay more to businesses to ensure that their data is not used or sold for ads, marketing or sales.

The survey found 54% feel either fed up, frustrated or creeped out by companies that use their data to serve targeted, personalized ads.

More than that, 84% have concerns about businesses monitoring or collecting data from their phone microphones, while 85% worry about location tracking from phones and laptops.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of DataGrail, the survey revealed it’s no wonder consumers are uneasy when it comes to their personal data, since six in 10 have unsubscribed from a company’s email list, but still continued to receive emails.

Americans would even be willing to cough up a few extra bucks if it ensured their information would be kept private. Seventy-three percent would pay more to online services to ensure they don’t sell personal data.

But that’s not all — respondents would even go so far as to boycott businesses over their data privacy.

Over three in four would stop shopping at their favorite retailer if they found out they didn’t keep personal data safe (77%) or sold their data to a third-party (78%).

Nearly seven in ten (69%) think they should be able to deny businesses the ability to sell their data to third parties — while 83% think businesses should not have access to personal data without consumer consent.

With such limited or non-existent regulations surrounding data privacy, respondents think it’s time to lay down the law.

One state is taking steps to lock down the people’s data. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect on January 1, 2020, and was designed to give people more control and transparency over their data.

“The average American has about 27 online accounts. As consumers put more of themselves online, people expect to have more control and transparency over their personal information,” said Daniel Barber, CEO and co-founder of DataGrail. “The good news is that businesses are responding, but we still have a lot of educating to do — only 24% of people have heard of California’s new regulation.”

Even though respondents were in the dark on the CCPA’s specifics, they tend to support it.

Sixty-five percent of Americans would take advantage of a law that gave them the right to know and access what information businesses are collecting on them.

Six in 10 (62%) want to have the option to opt-out of their personal data being shared or sold while 59% think consumers should be protected from businesses who don’t uphold privacy values.

“Brands are already making big moves to show their dedication to privacy, and it’s paying off,” Barber added. “Those that proactively update preferences and consent will end up with a more loyal customer-base.”


  1. Social media data sold to third parties 48%
  2. Social media data sold to serve targeted ads 40%
  3. Content of emails to serve targeted ads 34%
  4. Content of chats to serve targets ads 28%
  5. Health data sold to third-parties 21%
  6. Shopping history to recommend other purchases 19%
  7. Website browsing history to target ads 16%
  8. Purchasing history to sell to third parties 15%
  9. Shopping history to send targeted emails 15%
  10. Purchasing history to serve you targeted ads 12%


  1. Right to know/access what information business are collecting on you 65%
  2. Right to opt-out of sharing/selling of personal data 62%
  3. Right to protections from businesses that don’t uphold privacy values 59%
  4. Right to delete personal data held by a business 49%


  1. Social security number 47%
  2. My location 35%
  3. Email address 34%
  4. Mobile number 28%
  5. Biometric data 27%
  6. Financial information 22%
  7. Health data 15%
  8. Physical address 13%
  9. Genetic data 13%
  10. Name 9%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
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