SurveyMonkey has collected literally hundreds of millions of responses to surveys. People who fill out SurveyMonkey surveys often ask us whether their survey responses are truly anonymous and safe from prying eyes. After all, sometimes respondents are only comfortable with providing honest feedback if they know that their responses can’t be traced back to them!
The first thing to know is that surveys are set up by a survey creator and not by SurveyMonkey. SurveyMonkey provides the tools for creators to configure their surveys how they want. This includes allowing them to collect strictly anonymous responses, or to choose to identify their respondents.
If survey creators want to identify respondents, they could of course just ask who you are (e.g. ask you for your name and contact information using a demographic survey question type). We also offer the option for surveys to collect respondent IP addresses. While an IP address will not necessarily disclose your identity, IP addresses are often indicative of a geographic location.
How do you know if your IP address or email address is being collected “in the background”? The best thing to do is contact the survey creator, or the person who invited you to take the survey, directly!
This is the second article in a series on privacy and policies, written by Stuart Loh, SurveyMonkey in-house counsel in charge of privacy and policies. Stuart’s first article covered “Privacy for Survey Creators.”