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About the Author:
Ryan Polachi is a contributing
writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be
reached at rpolachi@IIRUSA.com.
Today’s talk on Big Privacy and Privacy By Design by Ann
Cavoukian was my favourite of the day. She spoke mainly in relation to big
data but everything she had to say relates to completely to all aspects of
marketing research. She is responsible
for the Privacy By Design concept which has seven foundation principles. Here are
the principles along with my thoughts on how they relate to traditional
Be proactive not reactive: In a research
business, many employees have access to personal information. This includes the
database team that is responsible for housing information like names, email
addresses, and data about children and income. A proactive survey team is one
that identifies technical weaknesses that might make the databases susceptible
to hacking. A proactive team also includes the project management folks who are there to ensure
that survey authors don’t ask questions that could reveal private information
or, at least, ensures that if private information must be asked, that
responders are aware and this information will be handled with the utmost in care. Everyone is responsible for ensuring that any potential privacy problems are identified and dealt with before they actually become problems.
Privacy is the default setting. In this area,
survey responders should never have to check with a research company to find out if their privacy will be
maintained. Their data should be automatically encrypted and stored behind lock
and key, as well as anonymized at every possible opportunity. Without asking.
Privacy is embedded into the design. Privacy
features should never be part of agile programming. It should be planned. If
you’re going to build a brand new mobile survey app or website tracking system,
privacy features should be planned and built in from day one. Programmers will
always tell you that add-on features are far less stable and reliable than
planned systems so do it right from the beginning.
Full functionality such that it is positive sum
not zero sum. Marketing research is founded in the trust that our research
participants have in us. The more we can prove to them, demonstrate to them,
that we are doing our utmost best to maintain their privacy, the better it will
be for us and for them. They retain their privacy and are assured that the
opinions they share with us will always be confidential. We, on the other hand,
make our responders happy thereby retaining them as responders, happy
responders, for much longer. Privacy truly is a win win situation.
End-to-end security. Have you ever tried to
unsubscribe from a newsletter, only to have to jump through hoops to find an
unsubscribe button and then still try to figure out which email address to type
into the unsubscribe box? Well, that is a perfect example of poor design for a
departing client. When research participants want to join a panel, leave a
panel, see their information, or delete their information, it should be easy
and it should be complete. And of course, these processes should be planned and
built into the system to avoid bothersome hoops.
If you don’t, you’re already in big trouble. Have a full explained policy and an
easier to read policy. Explain how research data is used, how it is stored, how it is shared, and when it is deleted. The more open you can be, the more your research
participants will appreciate you and stick with you. Again, it’s a win win situation.
Respect for user privacy. Remember that you
would not have a business without the people who answer your surveys or
participate in your focus groups. Treat them well. Treat them as you’d wish to
be treated. If there are things that you wish you knew about the research
process, chances are that your research participants also want to know. So tell
them. And tell them nicely.
And on a completely unrelated note, did you know that Ann’s
brother is Raffi, a very popular children’s entertainer? When I was a babysitter, putting on a Raffi ‘record’ was a great way to quiet kids down and get them to bed. The Cavoukian family is certainly accomplished!
Annie Pettit, PhD is the Chief Research Officer at Peanut Labs
, a company specializing in self-serve panel sample. Annie is a methodologist focused on data quality, listening research, and survey methods. She won Best Methodological Paper at Esomar 2013, and the 2011 AMA David K. Hardin Award. Annie tweets at @LoveStats
and can be reached at email@example.com