Conducting Privacy-Sensitive Surveys: A Case Study of Civil Society Organizations

by   Nikita Samarin, et al.
berkeley college

Compared to other organizations, civil society organizations (CSOs) often operate in elevated-risk contexts, and attacks against them carry much greater ramifications, including threats to freedom of expression, liberty, and life. We aim to capture the factors that affect the attitudes and intentions of CSO employees to engage in security and privacy behaviors by using a survey-based study to collect data about employees working at US-based civil society groups. In this paper, we describe the steps that we take to minimize risks to the respondents, such as employing a privacy-centric survey design, anonymity-preserving incentive strategies, and recruitment that does not reveal any identities. We hope that our experiences will inform and assist researchers and practitioners working on protective technologies for vulnerable populations.


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