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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Americans using digital services would gladly switch to companies that are more committed to data privacy and feel frustrated that they don't have more control over their personal data, according to survey results shared exclusively with Axios.

Why it matters: Entire tech empires are built on assembling detailed digital dossiers on users, which can then be used to target advertising at them. This survey is the latest indicator that people are frustrated with that as the status quo, even as companies make efforts to be give users more control over how their data gets collected, stored and used.

Details: The survey found that Americans broadly want more control over what happens with their personal information and think that existing tools seem outdated and should be easier to use.

  • The survey, conducted in June, polled 1,018 Americans, selected to reflect the demographics of the country overall.
  • The company behind the survey is Transcend, which builds data privacy dashboards used by firms including Patreon and Robinhood so that their users can see what personal data gets collected and can request to download or delete it.

By the numbers: Among the findings:

  • 93% of Americans would switch to a company that prioritizes their data privacy.
  • 91% would prefer to buy from companies that always guarantee them access to their data.
  • 88% are frustrated that they don’t have more control over their data.
  • 73% reported finding the process of downloading their data from a comapny "outdated"; 32%, "hard"; 32%, "confusing."
  • About two-thirds said they want to be able to choose what data companies can and can't collect.

What they're saying: "They're pretty stark findings, and this first poll was conducted right in the middle of the pandemic," Transcend CEO Ben Brook told Axios.

  • "Even when consumers had other things that may very likely have been top of mind, privacy remained this very strong, deep-seated feeling. From our perspective it means that privacy passed its greatest test."

What's next: Transcend plans to continue conducting the survey annually. "Anyone thinking that this will go away is in denial," Brook said. "This is only a growing issue."

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Updated Nov 13, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Workers want their bosses to do better on climate

Data: KPMG; Table: Axios Visuals

Corporate climate performance plays a role in how workers think about their employers, not to mention talent recruitment and loss, per a survey from KPMG and the law firm Eversheds Sutherlands.

Why it matters: The outlook from directors and top executives from hundreds of companies provides some interesting data points on how the corporate world is and isn't addressing climate change.

University of Michigan reaches $490M settlement in sex abuse case

Jon Vaughn, a former University of Michigan and NFL football player, speaks at a press conference in Ann Arbor, Mich., in June 2021. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The University of Michigan on Wednesday reached a $490 million settlement with over a thousand survivors who allege that they were sexually assaulted by a former physician in the school's athletic department.

Driving the news: "It's been a long and challenging journey and these survivors have refused to remain silent," attorney Parker Stinar said Wednesday.

3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.