We polled 1,000 anonymous web users on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk about data brokers in September 13th, 2012. Ninety-five percent of people said they thought they should be able to remove their personal information from being publicly displayed on data broker sites, also called “people search sites” or info brokers.
The one-question multiple-choice poll read, “Companies called ‘data brokers’ collect and sell information about you. This information includes things like your address, estimated net worth, date of birth, religious and political views, photos, email, and family members’ names and ages. Do you think you should be able to remove this type of information from being publicly listed online?”
Respondents picked one of the following choices:
- Yes, strongly agree: 797
- Yes, mostly agree: 154
- No, mostly disagree: 26
- No, strongly disagree: 23
As we’ve seen from the results above and the thousands of people who have signed up for our DeleteMe service, people want to control the personal information that data brokers have about them. Ideally, they’d have a one-stop website where they could see the information that these companies have about them and remove it from public view, a solution that the FTC has called for.
The data broker industry is fighting regulation and trying to convince consumers that data collection is a good thing: they launched a $1 million PR campaign yesterday “to buff the image and forestall regulation of the consumer data-mining industry,” reported Natasha Singer at the New York Times. It’s clear that there’s a disconnect between the privacy that consumers want and the tracking that data brokers insist is good for them.