Call for Change: People Want Stronger Privacy Laws

Filed under Privacy Research on

As you may know, we're actively pushing for strong privacy legislation in the U.S., from appearing at Congressional hearings to proposing a model "Do Not Track" bill. We strongly believe Americans want stronger legislative privacy protections, but to verify this, we conducted a survey of U.S. adults to gauge public sentiment towards privacy and the law.

We expected positive responses, but we were pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm level. Americans support a wide range of legislative privacy protections, from new privacy laws to pro-privacy political candidates, and even state and federal Constitutional amendments.

Our commissioned survey took place in December 2018 among a random sample of 1,182 U.S. adults (not just DuckDuckGo users), who collectively are demographically similar to the general population of U.S. adults. Here are the results.

Support for Constitutional privacy amendments

The right to privacy is part of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and over 60% of Americans believe the right to privacy should be part of their Constitution (both state and federal).

Graph showing support for Constitutional privacy protection at the state level in the U.S.Chart showing strong support for Constitutional privacy protection at the national level in the U.S.

Support for a national privacy law

Even larger majorities support a national privacy law protecting them from corporate data misuse (~80%) and governmental data misuse (~73%).

Chart showing support for a privacy law to protect from data misuse by corporations.Chart showing support for a privacy law to protect from data misuse by government.

Content of a national privacy law

People had varying opinions on what a national privacy law should look like, but the results again indicate strong majority support for laws to protect against a variety of privacy harms.

Chart showing support for different aspects of a potential national privacy law in the U.S.

66% of Americans also support a private right of action, that is, giving citizens the right to protect their privacy in court.

Chart showing support for the right to sue companies violating consumer privacy rights.

Political priorities for privacy

Finally, a majority of survey respondents believe that politicians should give high or top priority to discussing privacy rights. In addition, roughly half of the respondents said they'd support political candidates based only on their pro-privacy actions - privacy will obviously be a key issue in the 2020 Presidential election, as well as in other political races.

Chart showing that most people believe privacy rights are a high priority political topic.Chart showing strong support for political candidates that advocate for privacy protections.

In Summary

These results show that, regardless of where a person falls on the political spectrum, U.S. adults are not complacent about the land grab for our personal data by both companies and governments. They want legislative change and see the democratic process as one path to achieve that. This reinforces our resolve to work with policymakers to ensure consumers take back control of their personal data.

Methodology

These results are based on the polling of a random sample of 1,182 American adults (18+) in December 2018 via SurveyMonkey's Audience platform, which ensures the demographic make-up of respondents is representative of the U.S. population. Survey respondents were paid and a confidence level of 95% was used for calculating the values above.


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Call for Change: People Want Stronger Privacy Laws
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