How to Protect Privacy in Large Datasets: The right balance between data protection and data utility in behavioural research

Oriol Llauradó and Simon van Duivenvoorde

Introduction

Although surveys were around way longer it was not until the second half of the 20th century, with the global spread of telephone lines, that consumers became used to the possibility of being interviewed at any time. Of course, we can consider this newborn activity as a vulneration of intimacy but in general terms, we can state that respondents were duly treated with care by companies conducting surveys. Researchers were good at creating a relationship with the public based on reciprocity and ensuring that the information collected was going to be used only for a research purpose. As by default guarantee, the identity of respondents was always kept confidential and not disclosed to any third party. The consequence of decades of good practice was that citizens trusted the market research industry.