The revelations that the US National Security Agency is gathering data on millions of people from many of the world’s largest online and technology companies has heightened awareness of just how much information on our actions is being collected and manipulated. And people are not comfortable with that. A study we conducted in conjunction with Queen’s University Surveillance Studies Centre found that over eight out of ten Americans, Canadians and Britons were opposed to private companies using information from their social media sites, their internet searches, their emails and their website visits. This, of course, happens all the time: it’s no accident the online ads you see uncannily match your recent searches and website visits.But people are not just opposed to commercial use of their data. They also are uncomfortable with court-permitted use by government agencies. Our research found that a majority of people in the US, UK and Canada oppose police or intelligence agencies monitoring their online activities—even with a court order. No wonder the story of the NSA collaborating with the biggest names of the internet to monitor millions of people has grabbed headlines around the world. Right now, big data is like the Wild West. There are few rules and lots of companies playing fast and loose with people’s data. But if people are opposed to this, how long will this freewheeling environment last?