The Institute Provides Analysis of Several Leading Privacy Surveys

The Information Policy Institute today issued a “Privacy Survey Report Card” grading four prominent privacy surveys along five dimensions. The Report Card’s evaluation is designed to help legislators and regulators make sense of current privacy research, and to stimulate a constructive discussion of method among leading privacy researchers.

Dr. Michael A. Turner, President and Senior Scholar of the Institute, commented, “In general, we’re really impressed with the progress in the field. Only a few short years ago, we saw hubris and analytical confusion. While not perfect, the studies here are an excellent starting point for officials trying to make sense of the cacophony that, for better or worse, is today’s debate on consumer privacy.”

Dr. Turner discussed the method employed in the analysis, “We looked at five analytical categories that would be familiar to all social scientists who rely on survey data. In general, our aim is to reduce bias in these sorts of studies as much as possible, tempered by an appreciation of the limits of the medium and the difficulties faced by researchers in the real world.”

The studies analyzed were: the “E-LOAN survey,” conducted in February of 2002; the most recent Privacy&American Business-Harris Interactive national survey; and, “Americans & Online Privacy: The System is Broken,” by Dr. Joseph Turow of the Annenberg Public Policy Center; and, a Caravan poll on credit report literacy commissioned by the Consumer Federation of America.

“We will be doing this on a regular basis,” said Manager of Policy Research, Daniel Balis. “How often we conduct this sort of analysis depends on the number of privacy surveys conducted in the coming months. We don’t see this issue vanishing, and anticipate at least one or two report cards per year for the foreseeable future,” Balis added.

Download a copy of the study