Vision: Minimalist approaches to enforce privacy by design in surveys


Public institutions and private companies both frequently rely on user surveys for a variety of assessments (e.g. equality issues or quality of work environment). However, many such surveys struggle to garner suffi cient responses, especially when they ask about sensitive subjects (such as work harassment), which also makes them exist in a legal grey area when it comes to data protection laws. One important factor in this issue is the perceived threat of deanonymisation, compounded by the frequent lack of transparency on how the data is used. The proposals seeking to address this issue often focus on complex cryptography (e.g. homomorphic encryption), without addressing the fears of non-technical users. This paper explores a radically diff erent approach which minimises data collection on multiple fronts, partially by limiting the power of survey organisers. By design, it prevents generic attempts to deanonymise participants as the server never stores even pseudonymised information. We also try to address questions of inclusivity, once again through a minimalist approach.