Americans want an internet bill of rights to protect their online data

The US is cracking down on data collection and privacy laws – but what do Americans think about their internet rights?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

With the recent implementation of The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, companies' data collection policies will be affected. So, how are users impacted and what are their rights?

The CCPA is the only state law that gives consumers the right to direct companies to delete their information and not sell it. 

This law is similar to Europe's General Data Protection Regulation rules and reflects how states can step in to protect their residents when the federal government regulations miss the mark.

Online privacy company The Best VPN surveyed 1,005 Americans about their experiences and opinions on the internet and principles that should govern its use. 

Its Bill of Rights includes 10 amendments, each outlining protected freedoms. Participants in the study were asked to choose up to five rights they would prioritize in an internet bill of rights.

Ninety percent of Americans use the internet, but the majority do not think they are protected when they are online. They want specific rights.

The survey found that over half (55%) of Americans agree the US needs a set of laws governing the rights and use principles of the internet, including regulating the use of personal data for companies.

Americans want an internet bill of rights to protect their online data zdnet
The Best VPN

Over two out of three (69.7%) want the right to access and know when companies are collecting personal data and how it's being used. Almost half (48.1%) want the right to acquire, correct, or delete personal data from companies and have that request honored.

Over two in five (43.3%) of Americans want personal data to be secured by companies that collect it.

According to The Pew Research Center, four out of five (79%) of Americans are concerned about the way companies use their data. The survey showed that around 70% of people wished to know when companies are collecting personal data and how it is being used

The majority of Americans believe online privacy is a right and desire to have more control over what companies can do with their data -- but not all of their data.

Less than one in five (19.1%) wanted the right to move all of their personal data from one network to another. If every American had ownership of their personal data, this could happen yet was a low priority.

Even fewer (14.9%) Americans wanted to have data privacy around their health and fitness data.

Currently, most companies in the US collect user data by default. Users have to opt-out of this feature after they have registered with a site. By then, their data has already been collected. In the UK, users have to opt-in to receive marketing information from companies.

Putting privacy first is becoming more and more important. Ensuring you have full control of your data -- and managing what companies can do with your data -- should be top of any internet bill of rights.

But the potential loss of advertising revenue could be a step too far for most companies who need your personal data to bring in the bucks. For how much longer are you going to give your data away for corporates to continue to make money off the information you freely provide?

Previous and related coverage:

AgeBlock app launched to ensure age restrictions for online content

As we stay at home during the lockdown parents are concerned about children accessing pornography and other harmful online materials via their smartphones.

Quarantine and chill: Here's the information the Netflix stores about you

With a growing number of people around the world self-isolating at home, people are looking for ways to keep themselves entertained. What better way than binge-watching the TV series you have been meaning to but did not have the time?

One in four Americans won't do business with data-breached companies

With so many large-scale data breaches at major companies, is it possible for brands to regain consumer confidence again?

Editorial standards