Are Santa's Cookies Tracked, Too?


In the wake of historically massive data breaches, increasingly frequent ransomware attacks, and scandalous misuses of social media user data, technology companies are facing increased public scrutiny about their (mis)management of that one password that we use for everything.


But considering the convenience (and even clinical applications!) that user data offers, we were wondering...when it comes to the use of their personal data, what do Americans find acceptable and what’s just a little too Big Brother for their tastes?




Americans aren’t just comfortable with technology companies tracking their location; they prefer it. More than 2 out of every 3 find comfort in the thought that satellites circle the Earth, ready at a moment’s notice to divert them from a nearby traffic jam or public nuisance. Recent re-openings and “optional” employer-sponsored welcome back functions are no doubt rekindling a latent disdain for commutes. Google Maps – take the wheel. There’s even majority support for tech companies using location services to alert users if they’ve been in close proximity to a positive COVID-19 case.


Americans are a little more wary about the use of their social media presence and online behaviors. A majority of Americans oppose the use of cookies and social media activity to generate more relevant ads (53% and 51%, respectively). And even more balk at the idea of tech companies automatically classifying images shared on social media.




Comfort with our tech overlords appears to fall on generational lines. Americans 45 and younger are significantly more likely than the general population to support the use of their personal data for every purpose. Tell me you were born in the 80s without telling me you were born in the 80s.