Awareness, Adoption, Trust

Why Privacy is a Pillar of Good Public Opinion Research

At the 75th Annual World Association of Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), our founder’s presentation was featured in the WAPOR Asia Pacific 5th Anniversary Conference session – held in Dubai this year between November 12-15.

WAPOR Asia Pacific Conference Chair Holly Semetko led the proceedings and our founder Arundati Dandapani, MLitt, CAIP, CIPP/C, made her presentation virtually alongside others. You may access the presentation PDF below. The talk was about how privacy had emerged to the top of priorities for businesses in the insights and public opinion research space, as trust in institutions’ use of customers’ and citizens’ data had undergone a transformation in recent years, and longitudinally. The hypothesis and arguments were supported by data from the Advertising Research Foundation, the Global Data and Marketing Alliance and publicly available research from Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

The talk further discussed regulations and regulatory bodies around the world entrusted with making policies that helped businesses and public sector entities while protecting the rights of customers, consumers and citizens across markets. For example Bill C-11 makes its way through the legislative process in federal private sector reform in Canada, the US anticipates federal and state-wide privacy reform even with looming uncertainty around its various legislations’ business impacts, and Europe leads the way in data security. Industry associations around the world document the implications of an evolving privacy landscape and how it impacts the work of insights professionals and leaders.

We then discussed how the inevitability and influx of more research-technologies (technology-enabled research responsible for the insights industry’s highest rates of growth globally) creating new obligations towards consumers and citizens, or research participants, and how privacy policies and notices needed to be transparent, clear and in a language that actually made “informed consent” happen. We then went on to discussing the foundations of privacy-by-design in building stronger privacy-aware cultures that respected respondents, and all those in the data-lifecycle.

One of the major barriers to adoption (or “stakeholder buy-in”) of privacy programs within organizations is the lack of understanding of the value of risk-mitigation (IBM’s report on annual costs of a data breach is just one example). Privacy programs must be well-aligned with business objectives and boosting corporate reputation, trust and brand / organizational growth. These are important tasks for any team today, and shouldn’t just be left to good-old compliance departments. Twitter’s recent layoffs are a perfect case study of this lack of top-down prioritization of privacy prerogatives and the resulting chaos.

As we see, the journey from awareness to adoption needs to be well mapped out, leveraging key metrics and values of relevance to your research organization. The path to building a more competitive and trusted data-economy and eco-system is a lot easier with inter-skilled privacy-centric data insights professionals in the leadership seat at your table. For her detailed paper on this topic, contact our founder.

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