In the wake of European companies adopting data regulations, we want the same.

Americans find companies using their personal data without permission to be unethical, but wouldn’t mind much if they were paid for it.

Seventy-nine percent of Americans think they should be paid every time a company shares their personal data, says a study from market research company Insights Network.

“Under current practices, our data is being collected behind our backs for nefarious purposes,” says Insights Network CEO Brian Gallagher, “we need to move to conventions for data use that are based on transparency and consent.”

What’s the big deal with data?

Tech companies like Google and Facebook use our personal data to market and advertise in exchange for their services. The European Union defines personal data as any information that can be used to identify people. Whether its through their passwords and IP addresses, or even photos they share with their smart devices. It covers both marketing data and financial transactions, too.

But following recent data breaches to Facebook in the Cambridge Analytica scandal — where a political “voter-profiling company” harvested more than 50 million Facebook users’ profile data to “identity the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior,” the New York Times reports — more Americans are frustrated with the way their personal information is used by companies.

In light of Cambridge Analytica, 45 percent of Americans have considered deleting one of their social media accounts, and 12 percent already have. Of those who have deleted a social media account, 78 percent chose their Facebook profile for the chopping block.

We want data regulations

The European Union recently added strict data sharing rules through a law called the Global Data Protection Regulation. The law enforces companies operating in the European Union to be more transparent about how they use their customers’ personal data.

Despite the fact that companies in the European Union do operate internationally, and many Americans have been notified of the law through their email accounts, most don’t know what the law is. Eighty-seven percent of Americans are unaware of the GDPR. But when informed of the details of the law, 84 percent of Americans support its regulations.

Sixty-five percent of Americans are uncomfortable with for-profit businesses sharing their personal data. And 68 percent worry about the security of their data. But, Americans aren’t entirely against companies using their data, as long as they’re more transparent about it.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans are fine with companies using their data if they know which companies are requesting their information. And 86 percent of Americans think they should be notified every time their data is shared.

But, it’s only the American way to capitalize.

Pay us for our data

Americans want to take it a step further than transparency from companies.

Seventy-nine percent think they should be paid every time their data is shared. But, perhaps asking for pay is too strong. Seventy-two percent would feel more comfortable sharing their data if they were offered an incentive in exchange. The study doesn’t specify what these incentives are, but Americans don’t want to give their data away for free.

Similar to Insights Network study, market research company Vision Critical ran a similar poll through three European countries: the UK, France and Germany. Eighty-one percent feel more should be done to protect their personal data.

However, 87 percent said they’d feel more comfortable sharing their personal data if they had more control over it. Meaning they want to see what is stored, and have the ability to change or delete data. This shows most people aren’t against companies using their personal data to market to them. Many just want to be included with how it’s being used.

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Joe Pye

Joe Pye

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Pye is the associate editor of


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Article last modified on December 19, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Americans Want Companies to Pay Them For Their Data - AMP.