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Opt Out of Market Research

This article applies to: Security & Policy


Companies use a variety of market research techniques to understand the needs and wants of consumers. Your privacy can be at risk when you participate in surveys, online communities, focus groups, and other types of market research.

To participate, you typically enter into an explicit agreement with a research firm, sometimes in exchange for some sort of reward.

Reputable market research firms will be upfront. They’ll share exactly what information they will gather, what they will do with it, and provide you with a privacy statement.

Say no to market research software (a.k.a spyware)

For some types of market research, special software must be installed on your computer to track your activities. Do not install such market research software on any computer that you also use for Cornell business.

Market research software gives the market research firm and its customers potential access to everything you do on your computer:

  • You may be surrendering control of your computer and have no way of knowing what information the research firm is gathering about you.
  • The software might record not only where you go on the Internet, but also everything you type, including passwords, credit card numbers, and emails.
  • If poorly designed, it could break other software on your computer, or make your computer vulnerable to downloads of other dangerous programs.

About this Article

Last updated: 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 8:18am

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