Running Anonymous Studies

All studies on ProofPilot are confidential. ProofPilot does not support anonymous studies. All personally identifiable information is encrypted both in transit and at rest. Participants decide who they want to share their information with. Any data download available to researchers is stripped of any identifying information. Unless there is a specific reason in the study design, researchers never see user identifying information.

The ProofPilot team reviewed techniques that would allow participants to login, register and participate in studies anonymously. However, the techniques created significant barriers to participation (people forgot codes, and didn’t understand registration or login processes). The techniques provide only a very slight improvement in participant privacy and security. We also saw the unusual login and registration processes increased stigma and anxiety associated with participation.

Therefore, we made a strategic decision to only support confidential studies. A user registration and login process online is one of the most common user interface elements. Staying consistent with that model increases participant accessibility and engagement. Encryption and PII stripping provide adequate protections for participant privacy and security.