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SurveyMonkey surveys can optionally be made "anonymous", preventing respondents' email and IP addresses from appearing in the survey results.

As a respondent, how can I verify that a survey has been made anonymous? Do I just have to take the author's word for it?

Details

  • The instructions for creating "anonymous" surveys suggest that SurveyMonkey is aware of this concern:

    Put your survey recipients at ease by informing your survey respondents about whether their responses are being provided anonymously.

    This sounds hopeful, but their subsequent recommendation is worrisome:

    You can add a privacy disclosure for your survey by inserting it as introductory text on the front page of your survey.

  • The document titled Are my survey responses anonymous and secure? sounds like it might address this. For each issue, anonymity and security, the document describes pertinent features that can be enabled by the survey creator.

    For the issue of security, the document also explains how a respondent can identify whether the pertinent features are in effect. Disappointingly, no such guidance is provided for the issue of anonymity.

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2 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

I contacted SurveyMonkey support about this concern. Their response confirms their lapse in consideration of respondents' privacy.

Indeed, the details of the settings are up to the creator to verify.

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SurveyMonkey gives full control to survey creators

We give all the control to the survey creator and they determine how public or private to make their survey results.

once you get survey URL via mail, clicking into that URL proceeds you straight to survey without any interim point to inform you about whether survey anonymous. so if it is not, survey creator will get both IP and mail of person which clicked.

the very problem is that before you click into URL, you don't know, and after you have clicked, it does not matter - record is done. other network tools (not necessarily survey tools) with privacy matters had done so, that once you click you see first notifier and no further action happens. you have means to NOT go further if you are concerned. and you are not recorded.

to me it looks like SurveyMonkey cares more about creators than responders and makes bias in privacy protection. I don't answer to their surveys and either ignore them or inform creator to choose better platform with regards for my privacy too.

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