Nielsen “breaks in” to a website to “scrape” the comments from people posting about their medical conditions. The CitiBank iPhone app leaks personal data. Facebook admits that its apps have been sharing personal data with outside companies.
These are just some of the most recent headlines related to online research data and individual privacy. Privacy is a huge issue to government, technology, marketing research and to individuals. The issue is so important ESOMAR dedicated an entire section of its Online Research Conference today to reporting on its study on respondent privacy.
“Privacy is a fundamental human right,” said Mike Cooke, Global Director of Online Development for GfK NOP. Therefore, it is incumbent on market research providers to ensure privacy for its respondents. Mike outlined four fundamental principles that all research firms must address:
- The company is solely responsible for personal data under its control.
- Consent of respondents is paramount.
- Transparency: Respondents have a right to know why research data is being collected.
- Secure processes are necessary.
ESOMAR and the industry are working together to develop guidelines that will protect respondents and research firms.