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Updated 11:00 AM March 22, 2004
 

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Individual responses secure despite unauthorized release of report


A recent unauthorized release of the Institute for Social Research (ISR) monthly Surveys of Consumers report did not compromise participant privacy, says Director David Featherman.

"ISR remains confident in its system for protecting study participant information, which was not the target of the recent unauthorized access of the preliminary report," he says.

The Department of Public Safety and the FBI are conducting an investigation into the public dissemination of a report from the February survey before its official release date of Feb. 13. The release was limited to a summary survey report, not individual respondent answers or identities, Featherman says.
“Long-standing practices are designed to safeguard respondent privacy and to keep survey data confidential.” —David Featherman

"Long-standing practices are designed to safeguard respondent privacy and to keep survey data confidential. Every person affiliated with ISR surveys is required to sign the ISR pledge of confidentiality. These practices have remained highly effective in protecting data confidentiality and respondent privacy, and they were not compromised by the recent event," he says.

A full review of security has been initiated and some new measures have been implemented. The last two releases of the Surveys of Consumers have remained secure. Pending completion of the review, additional measures may be instituted if necessary.

"The unauthorized access to the Consumer Survey preliminary report is very troubling to us, and we want to assure the public and research sponsors that we regard the continuing security of our research as matters of the utmost seriousness," says Fawwaz Ulaby, vice president for research.

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