Brave Software: Online privacy is a top concern for US consumers

According to a new survey of 1,500 US web users conducted by Brave Software, 76% of users feel more concerned with protecting their online privacy than they did one year ago, and 88% wish they had more control over how large companies like Google and Facebook use their personal data.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Privacy Awareness is Growing: 80% of users feel more aware of the need to protect their privacy than they did a year ago while 44% list “lack of privacy” as a major gripe with online browsing and just 32% feel in control of their data online.
  • Users Want a Privacy-Oriented Web: 82% wish the Web were more privacy-oriented and 79% worry about their privacy on the Web at least occasionally. Privacy is particularly important to users when choosing a browser – 88% say privacy features are important or very important.
  • Tired of Being Tracked, Not Willing to Pay for Content: While 65% of users want to continue a free Web experience, 47% object to ads that seem to follow them around the web and 58% say their biggest gripe with web browsing is that there are too many ads in general.
  • Big Tech Needs to Step It Up: Big Tech is losing user trust – 52% of users say they not not trust companies like Facebook and Google, and almost half (41%) say these companies have not done a sufficient job protecting their privacy. The majority of users (81%) care how Big Tech uses their online data and wish they had more control over it (88 %). Still, 33% of users have not changed their privacy settings on their Google account and 32% have not changed the privacy settings on their browser — suggesting that the “opt-out” approach is leaving many users and their data unprotected.
  • Time for Government Intervention?: 56% of users think it’s inevitable that their private information will be compromised online with the current state of the Web. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of users believe the government should step in and play a role in protecting user privacy.

Our data suggests that users are fed up with the surveillance capitalism that currently funds the Web. While they want to continue to experience the Web for free, they want more control over how their data is used, and they object to the pervasive lack of privacy that currently exists online. This increasing desire for change represents a tipping point for the industry that will push tech giants and regulators to shift toward a privacy-first approach.

Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder,  Brave Software