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Would You Trade Your Personal Data for Free Online Services?

The Why Axis Data Exchange Free Services

We all made a bargain with the internet a decade ago, even if we didn’t realize it at the time: To use free online services, you have to give up control over some of your personal data. The question now is, after years of data catatstrophes such as Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and the Equifax hack, are free services worth the trade-off?

The Why Axis BugPCMag recently surveyed 3,000 US consumers about virtual private network (VPN) use and buying factors, as well as their opinions on privacy and security. We also asked respondents which free online services they would exchange their personal data to access.

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The top reason in a landslide, at 44 percent of respondents, was the universal scenario of accessing public Wi-Fi. Everyone needs to jump on public Wi-Fi now and again (hopefully with a fake name and a dummy email address) but experts caution that you should do it safely. One tip is to make sure you’ve got a VPN fired up to keep you protected on an inherently insecure network.

Aside from Wi-Fi, 20 percent of respondents said they would exchange personal data for e-commerce reasons, meaning coupons and deals. Another 14 percent said they would provide personal data to download apps and 13 percent to sign up for social media.

Finally, another chunk of respondents are more interested in exclusive content. For 12 percent of respondents, exchanging personal data would be an acceptable trade-off for exclusive streaming content, whereas 8 percent prefer exclusive video game content.

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