Privacy, an opportunity not to be missed

We can define the right to privacy as the people’s right to have a free space from other’s watch or judgment. This is a fundamental right universally acknowledged.

Traditionally, market researchers have been putting their efforts into respect and protect the personal information of their participants.




Nevertheless, we recently observe with concern some factors that can lead us to loss the confidence that citizens have put on our industry:

  • On one hand, there are some recent revelations about massive spying from companies and governments, as well as constant presence of news about data leaking and cyber-attacks.
  • On the other hand, as the society of information is growing (smartphones, big data, apps) the possibilities of data capturing are multiplying, but the citizen’s expectations of privacy are being threatened.
  • From the customer’s point of view, the border between market research and direct marketing is becoming more and more blurred.

GRBN published a study called Trust & Personal Data Survey aiming to know the level of confidence the public has over our industry. This is an international survey that measures how the citizens perceive the use of their personal data. We encourage you to read the report carefully.

The main conclusions of the study are:

  • 36% of the respondents are very concerned about how governments and companies can use their data.
  • 31 % of the population does not trust that market research industry protects correctly their personal data.
  • If we compare the confidence level of our field with other 16 ones, market research shows a confidence level similar in average to mobile operators or international banks. Even this is not a negative figure, due of the nature of our business we should aim to make it better.

In other words, as we are in the middle of data revolution era, we are putting the reputation we have reached at risk.

But we need to be optimistic and moreover, take action. We are still on time to maintain and improve how we manage our respondents’ personal information. That is why I share with you some advices about privacy, hoping to be useful:

  • Be conscious about the importance of legal right for data protection. A good way to start can be consulting the Data Protection Checklist by ESOMAR.
  • Base your relation with the respondents in the informative transparency and informed permission.
  • Remember data are people’s property: always facilitate your respondents mechanisms to control and exercise effectively their data protection right.
  • Name a responsible in the organisation who watches the data protection and develops technical and organisational measures as well as he or she raises awareness throughout the rest of the team.
  • Think about privacy as a strategy which should be present in all of your services from the very moment of its creation.
  • Remember you are the responsible of your whole data chain: promote and spread privacy culture in your relations with clients and suppliers.

Finally, from Netquest we encourage you to go in deep and insist on the value and the crucial role our industry plays in the society. This is the best way to keep on counting on public’s cooperation and confidence.


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