Home Business Survey: Americans struggle to control their online data

Survey: Americans struggle to control their online data

The internet has brought everyone closer. You can video call your loved ones living miles away, shop without leaving the comfort of your home, and get answers to any query. Due to these benefits, millions of people use the internet daily.

However, this ease of accessibility is a two-way road. If you can search and connect to anyone online, anyone can search about you too. It creates a big issue of data security in a world where everything is now online. Moreover, when a survey was conducted on how secure you feel while browsing online, the response was not very optimistic.

Find out the survey results and ways to keep your data secure in the article.

Survey: How was it done?

One thousand five adults from the continental USA, Hawaii, and Alaska were asked several questions online by a public opinion specialist company Ipsos.

The participants were drawn from an online panel, river sample through ads and invitations, and their partner online panel sources. The US Census 2018 American Community Survey Data was the primary source that helped fix the exact demographic target. To further streamline the sample, a post-hoc weight was constructed depending on the population’s age, gender, race, education, and region.

The respondents first had to poll on the statement, ‘It has become more difficult to control who has access to my personal information online.’

Following this, they had to answer, ‘How frequently do you use each following?’ The options were as follows:

  1. Keep the software on the device(s) up to date.
  2. Use different passwords for different online accounts.
  3. Clear browser history and cookies.
  4. Use incognito or private browsers.
  5. Use VPN when using public Wi-Fi.
  6. Use encrypted messaging platforms.

Results of the survey

According to the poll on statements, 70% of Americans agree that it has been difficult to control who has access to their personal information online.

According to the second six-part question, only 16% of Americans follow all the six steps, 31% follow 4-5 steps, and 49% obey the first three steps.

Reasons why your information is not safe online

The most basic reason is that many Americans think data privacy and security are the same things. But they are two different concepts. You can explain data privacy as the fundamental right of humans where the company must make sure that your information is kept private. These include policy, consent, and third-party management.

On the other hand, data security is steps to further secure their information from data exploitation or hacking. These include activity monitoring, access control, encryption, and network security.

How to keep your personal information safe?

Although no one is 100% secure online. Still, these are some of the steps you can take to avoid becoming the target of hackers. Additionally, there are ways to ease the pain of controlling all data you put online. For instance, you reveal a lot without even realizing it. Web entities associate specific locations with you according to the information extracted from IP addresses.

Always use a secure network

It is relatively easy for cybercriminals to access your device or corrupt your system through malware if you are using an insecure network. Ensure that you are using it with a Virtual Private Network whenever you use public Wi-Fi.

A VPN can hide your IP address, keep your data secure, prevent data and speed throttling, and give access to geo-restricted services. After all, you can learn what is your IP address before connecting to VPN servers. After connecting, perform the same check again to see whether it has changed. The new IP address will give you more anonymity online to perform what you wish.

Make safe browsing a habit

Cybercriminals can easily lure you in through clickbait phishing techniques like ‘you won $1000, click here to redeem.’ Ask yourself why anyone would give you free money? Always be mindful of what you click on. These click baits are a source introducing viruses into your system or gaining access to your personal information like bank account details.

Your privacy settings should be always ON

Go to the privacy settings of your phone or PC and enable the privacy feature. You may have to dig deep in the settings as companies do not want you to access it, but it is always there. While using a social media platform, use its advanced privacy settings to protect your data.

Most apps have settings for disabling personalized ads or data sharing with third parties. Ensure you disable such options and prevent them from happening. Also, you can adjust conditions on your operating system as well, like Android privacy settings.

Do not use weak passwords

Passwords like your birthdate or 1234 are straightforward to crack. Always make sure you construct a password that is 15 characters long with numbers and special symbols.

Always update your antivirus

Data security can only keep your system safe from incoming threats, but once into your system, it needs the help of an antivirus. Never delay your antivirus or system updates to keep everything running smoothly.


Your digital print will outlive you. Therefore, always be careful what you post online. Avoid sharing location or personal information on social media. If an individual does not follow any data security methods, they risk themselves suffering a data breach despite having privacy.


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