Progress in the Age of Privacy

Progress in the Age of Privacy

Protecting our privacy, security, and identities has become a constant battle that we all face in today’s digital age:

Is my password strong enough? Why does this app on my phone need to access my camera and contacts, exactly? Who will know that I’ve used this service? How many people will see this photo?

Controlling privacy is a different ballgame in a face-to-face environment. You’re able to choose who you disclose your personal information to in an easy and controlled manner. You may be perfectly comfortable sharing your innermost secrets with a close friend, but to someone you’ve just met, you may be hesitant to give more than your name and perhaps your job title. This is why when conducting in-person focus groups or interviews, moderators have to make their participants comfortable enough to open up.

When doing research in a digital setting, things get more complicated. The participant loses an element of control over who has the ability to view information making it even more important for the researcher to be able to explain the steps that are being taken to protect the participant’s private information. Here at FocusVision, we are always looking for better ways to help our customers protect their respondents’ personal data and adhere to privacy laws. That’s why we’ve just added a new feature to FocusVision InterVu and FocusVision Live Video that allows valuable qualitative research to happen while making it easy to secure PII (Personal Identifiable Information) including personal image.

Protecting users makes for better research

It may seem like somewhat of a contradiction when it comes to privacy protection and research data.

From a research perspective, the goal is to collect as much data as possible to better understand your customer. For example, the more information that is obtained about a patient’s disease symptoms can lead to better understanding and treatment options.

On the other hand, the participant, like most of us, may be wary of their sensitive information being available to too many parties. They may want researchers to understand their struggles with a medical condition as clearly as possible but may be mortified at the prospect of people in their lives (or strangers) knowing intimate details about their condition. This is why it’s so important to maintain the trust relationship between researcher and participant. Failing to uphold that may result in compromised research, legal penalties, and mortified participants.

Simply put, the more secure, safe, and in control a participant feels, the more open they are likely to be with a moderator.

So how do we help provide participants with this crucial level of protection?

At FocusVision, data protection and security have always been critical priorities for us. Over the years, we have been at the forefront of privacy protection, becoming one of the first in our industry to implement blurred streaming, audio anonymization, and a simple method for researchers to report exposed PII data.

We frequently work with our customers when unexpected situations arise, such as a participant getting a bit too chatty and revealing a little more about themselves than they should (it happens!)

And we take pride in our ability to overcome customer challenges in order to meet compliance and privacy needs.

Advanced Participant Privacy Feature

Using FocusVision InterVu and FocusVision Live Video, when a participant agrees to take part in a digital qualitative study, they will be asked to provide consent regarding who is allowed to be privy to their sensitive information.

Our team has been hard at work, innovating a new way to help customers protect and simplify respondent privacy.

Our advanced participant privacy feature is an intuitive process for our customers and with one click, all of their research will be given an additional confirmation of consent for viewing. Users logging in to view research which has this feature will self select their role, which determines if they’re privy to view the un-anonymized content based on consent.

But that doesn’t mean that those users who are not authorized to view un-anonymized content are unable to experience the research first-hand. If the user selects to view anonymized research, they’ll be presented with the same research, just blurred to protect participants’ privacy. These viewers will not be able to download research or view sensitive documents.

We believe that by giving our customers more power to control the privacy of their respondents, we enable them to confidently gather better research and avoid potential liabilities.

To learn more about this new feature for FocusVision InterVu check out our knowledge base article.

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