Public dialogues on the (re)use of private sector data for social research
The Data Research Centre worked with the Economic and Social Research Council to set up a focus group involving a number of people selected at random, to assess their views about data privacy and security and how information is used for social research.
The purpose of these dialogues was to inform the work of the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre, the Consumer Data Research Centre and the Urban Big Data Centre. The three Data Research Centres aim to enable safe access to and use of private sector data for innovative and high quality social research of societal benefit.
Overall, the dialogue demonstrated that there is wide public support for the use and re-use of private sector data for social research. Access to information about the Data Centre processes as the dialogue unfolded alleviated a lot of the concerns people had initially around security and privacy. An increased appreciation of the benefits of social research for everyone in society meant that a trade-off took place between concerns and perceived risks of the use of private sector data in favour of research that leads to improvements in policy and services.
The final report can be downloaded from the ESRC website, Public Dialogues Report.