The Privacy of Personal Data, A Permanent Challenge in Market Research

Data collection is one of the most common tasks traditionally linked to market research. Being able to segment consumers into groups with common sociodemographic characteristics requires data from respondents ranging from age to hobbies. However, in recent years we have seen a growing concern of consumers and different actors about the use and exchange of these.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal brought public attention to the rights and obligations of data owners. It is not a minor concern. Through an «apparently» harmless Facebook game, hundreds of users of this social network saw their own privacy and that of their network of friends on the platform violated. And this case is just one of several that have been made known since then.

Market researchers, being subjects of legal and ethical obligations for the handling of personal data, are aware of the importance of collecting, safeguarding, storing, blocking and erasing data. Since many years before it was a matter of public interest, most researchers and agencies in the field have made efforts to prevent its misuse.

Over time, we have implemented a series of provisions that the authorities of the matter have established for this purpose in different countries. Among these measures are the definition of privacy notices that are increasingly clear and with more precise scope, investment in resources that safeguard the integrity of the data, and a continuous review of the processes to reduce as far as possible its incorrect disposition.

Among the new actions that are envisaged to join the aforementioned are the signing of privacy contracts between the respondents and the possessors of their data; further facilitate the invocation of the resource of access, rectification, cancellation and opposition of personal data; the dissociation and separation of bases; ensure the transfer of records by secure means; and avoid capturing data that is not strictly necessary for the purposes of the studies.

Beyond the laws and regulations in force, what is at stake at this juncture on the security of data and information of people is their trust before third parties. At least in Latin America, an obstacle that market analysts face is the distrust of the respondents. It is not easy to address variables such as income, professional activity or habits and customs. It is up to us to offer the minimum requirements of certainty to continue with our activity.

At Acertiva, we are jealous of the protection of the data of the respondents. Likewise, we are aware of the latest provisions to give the greatest certainty to the owners of the data and to the competent authorities in privacy in each country. We put at your disposal our experience on the implementation of data protection measures in the planning and execution of market studies in our region. Send us an email today to quote your next study.