ExpressVPN published the results of its privacy survey. The survey, commissioned by ExpressVPN and conducted by Propeller Insights, included a representative sample of about 1,000 adults in the United States.
Overall, 29.3% of survey respondents said they already use had used a virtual private network (VPN) or a proxy network. Survey respondents cited three broad reasons for using a VPN service: 1) to avoid surveillance, 2) to access content, and 3) to stay safe online. Detailed survey results about surveillance concerns:
"The most popular reasons to use a VPN are related to surveillance, with 41.7% of respondents aiming to protect against sites seeing their IP, 26.4% to prevent their internet service provider (ISP) from gathering information, and 16.6% to shield against their local government."
Who performs the surveillance matters to consumers. People are more concerned with surveillance by companies than by law enforcement agencies within the U.S. government:
"Among the respondents, 15.9% say they fear the FBI surveillance, and only 6.4% fear the NSA spying on them. People are by far most worried about information gathering by ISPs (23.2%) and Facebook (20.5%). Google spying is more of a worry for people (5.9%) than snooping by employers (2.6%) or family members (5.1%).
Concerns with internet service providers (ISPs) are not surprising since these telecommunications company enjoy a unique position enabling them to track all online activities by consumers. Concerns about Facebook are not surprising since it tracks both users and non-users, similar to advertising networks. The "protect against sites seeing their IP" suggests that consumers, or at least VPN users, want to protect themselves and their devices against advertisers, advertising networks, and privacy-busting mobile apps which track their geo-location.
Detailed survey results about content access concerns:
"... 26.7% use [a VPN service] to access their corporate or academic network, 19.9% to access content otherwise not available in their region, and 16.9% to circumvent censorship."
The survey also found that consumers generally trust their mobile devices:
" Only 30.5% of Android users are “not at all” or “not very” confident in their devices. iOS fares slightly better, with 27.4% of users expressing a lack of confidence."
The survey uncovered views about government intervention and policies:
"Net neutrality continues to be popular (70% more respondents support it rather then don’t), but 51.4% say they don’t know enough about it to form an opinion... 82.9% also believe Congress should enact laws to require tech companies to get permission before collecting personal data. Even more, 85.2% believe there should be fines for companies that lose users’ data, and 90.2% believe there should be further fines if the data is misused. Of the respondents, 47.4% believe Congress should go as far as breaking up Facebook and Google."
The survey found views about smart devices (e.g., door bells, voice assistants, smart speakers) installed in many consumers' homes, since these devices are equipped with always-on cameras and/or microphones:
"... 85% of survey respondents say they are extremely (24.7%), very (23.4%), or somewhat (28.0%) concerned about smart devices monitoring their personal habits... Almost a quarter (24.8%) of survey respondents do not own any smart devices at all, while almost as many (24.4%) always turn off their devices’ microphones if they are not using them. However, one-fifth (21.2%) say they always leave the microphone on. The numbers are similar for camera use..."
There are more statistics and findings in the entire survey report by ExpressVPN. I encourage everyone to read it.