Surveys help organizations remain competitive by providing feedback that can be used to improve products and services and give customers the best experiences possible. However, privacy and liability issues can arise when personal information is collected, analyzed, stored, and shared.
- Add information about your business: your website and/or app.
- Select the country:
- Answer the questions from our wizard relating to what type of information you collect from your users.
- 2. Are Privacy Policies Required for Surveys?
- 2.1. What is Personal Information?
- 3.1. Introduction
- 3.2. What Types of Data Will be Collected
- 3.3. How Data Will be Used
- 3.4. How Data Will be Shared
- 3.5. How Data Will be Protected
- 3.6. Children's Data
- 3.7. External Links
- 3.8. User Rights
- 3.9. Governing Law/Jurisdiction
- 3.11. Contact Information
- 4.1. Website/Survey Footer
- 4.2. Sign-up/Sign-in Pages
- 4.3. Checkboxes for Agreement
- 5. Summary
They're legally required in most places around the world whenever you in fact do collect or use personal information of others.
Are Privacy Policies Required for Surveys?
In the U.S., state privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA/CPRA) and international ones like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may not address surveys specifically, but their terms generally apply to all data collection and processing activities within their jurisdictions.
What is Personal Information?
In addition to collecting responses from survey questions themselves, you may need to collect protected personal information including:
- User names
- Email addresses
- Physical locations of survey participants
Furthermore, you may be subject to additional rules and regulations if you collect sensitive personal information pertaining to race, religion, political affiliation, and sexual orientation.
You may choose not to collect sensitive information of this nature, but many organizations like knowing as much about their customers and potential customers as possible because it allows them to tailor their sales and marketing efforts accordingly.
- Who you are as a company
The company also defines three terms (website, surveys, and services) that are used throughout its policies.
Below this information, Survey Junkie gives users more background information regarding the nature of its business:
What Types of Data Will be Collected
Surveys are valuable tools for multinational corporations, local non-profits, and nearly every organization and business type in between. But because surveys can vary so greatly, it's important to lay out exactly what types of data will be collected.
Here's how Survey Junkie discloses the different types of data it will request:
How Data Will be Used
You must disclose how you will use the data that you collect. This can be everything from technical aspects (automatic account login functionality) to selling the data to third parties for a profit.
Here's how Survey Junkie notes that it will use the General Profile information to match the user with appropriate surveys:
It also has a more detailed clause that specifically addresses how information is used, including to comply with laws, to communicate with the user, and to manage its rewards program:
Towson University addresses the issue of Data Usage for freshmen and seniors participating in the National Survey of Student Engagement as follows:
How Data Will be Shared
If you share the data you collect with any other party, you should disclose this. This includes whether you're selling the data to third parties or sending it to other companies within your own network.
Here's how Survey Junkie discloses in a list format who it may give information to:
The Cleveland Clinic lets users know that participants may be contacted by a third party consulting company and that their conversations may be recorded:
How Data Will be Protected
Data protection is usually a big concern for anyone considering participating in a survey. Without assurances that their personal information will be in good hands, some prospective participants may choose to err on the side of caution and keep their data to themselves.
Here's how Survey Junkie includes a clause that lists a number of different ways in which it helps secure the information it collects:
The Open University has a dedicated Data Protection and Confidentiality page that specifically deals with student surveys:
The first paragraph states that:
- Survey results are stored securely
- Data is only accessible by authorized personnel
- Data is only used when necessary for analysis and reporting
Because children are particularly vulnerable and enjoy beefed-up protections in many jurisdictions, most Privacy Policies specifically address the topic of children's data.
Different jurisdictions have different requirements on how such information is to be handled, so check local laws and make sure to abide.
Here's how Lightspeed addresses child safety:
Lightspeed's Children's Data Policy lets users know that it doesn't intentionally invite underage children to participate in online surveys. However, when they do get their parent's permission, the parents must still supervise them while they're completing the survey.
Survey Junkie's clause is shorter and more to the point, basically stating that it does not knowingly collect information from children under a certain age, and if the company does accidentally do so and become aware, it will delete the data:
Though external links are more common on websites and mobile apps, you should let participants know if they'll be included in your survey or questionnaire as well.
In the example below, Swagbucks informs readers that its site may contain external links and that the company isn't responsible for Privacy Policies or web content found there:
Before creating an account, sharing personal information, and answering survey questions, some savvy participants will want to know what rights they have in regard to their personal data. These rights differ by jurisdiction, so check local laws.
In the following example, Tilburg University's website lists the following rights enjoyed by those who participate in official school surveys:
Tilburg survey respondents are also protected by the rights of Restriction, Removal, and Objection.
These rights allow them to restrict or prohibit data collection and processing indefinitely or until a particular objection has been addressed.
Because online surveys can be distributed to participants around the globe, governing law and jurisdiction must be considered.
Here's how SurveyMonkey addresses the issue of governing law and venue:
Since questions often arise throughout the survey process, it's important that participants know who they can contact to have their issues addressed.
Include a clause such as this one from Survey Junkie:
Include as many ways as possible to make it as easy as possible for users to contact you in a variety of ways.
The University of London includes the following Please Contact Us link for Student Experience Survey participants with questions:
Harvard includes the following contact information for survey participants:
At the bottom of its Registration page, Toluna lets users know that by creating an account they accept the company's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policies, both of which are linked:
Checkboxes for Agreement
Surveys and questionnaires can provide valuable feedback and insight that can help you attract new customers and improve products and service offerings for existing ones. On the downside, privacy and liability issues are relatively common when personal data is collected, analyzed, stored, and shared.
- An Introduction
- What types of data will be collected
- How data will be used
- How data will be shared
- How data will be protected
- Children's data
- External links
- User rights
- Governing law/jurisdiction
- Right to amend
- Contact information
- Website footer and/or at the bottom of each survey page
- Registration or account creation
- Account sign-in for existing users
Get active consent via an "I Agree" checkbox that can be recorded and serve as proof of consent if issues arise down the road.