Most People Wary Of Data Collection By Platforms, Study Finds

The vast majority of Americans appear to be uneasy about data collection by online platforms, according to a new study by Consumer Reports.

For the report, researchers asked respondents whether they were concerned by platforms' efforts to compile profiles about consumers by gathering data about their activity at websites and apps operated by outside companies.

More than eight in 10 respondents (81%) expressed some concern about the practice. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they were “very” concerned, while an additional 53% said they were “somewhat” concerned. Only 2% said they were “not at all” concerned, while 17% said they were “not too” concerned.

When questioned about their feelings regarding data storage by platforms like Google and Amazon, 85% of respondents said they were either very or somewhat concerned by the amount of data retained by the companies.

For the study, researchers surveyed more than 3,200 people in July.

The report, “Platform Perceptions: Consumer Attitudes On Competition and Fairness in Online Platforms,” also addresses consumers' attitudes toward other tech policy issues, ranging from whether platforms have too much power to whether tech companies should be subject to additional regulations.

When questioned about potential privacy regulations, 84% of respondents said they agreed with the statement that platforms “should be required to respect privacy laws that protect the users' personal information so that the user cannot be manipulated or exploited by that information.”

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