Analysis of Blockchain on Surveys and Data Collection | Part 119th April 2019
Essential to the development and sustenance of the world is accurate information. Every working industry requires information to run effectively.
The importance of having the right information cannot be stressed enough; it is, therefore, critical that information is collected, processed and reported in an unbiased, effective, efficient and seamless manner.
There are several ways through which information can be collected. One of the most common ways is conducting surveys. Surveys are an essential source of primary data. However, over the years, due to technological improvements, questionable instances of information misappropriation and improper conduct while collecting data online have occurred.
Collection of data through carrying out surveys is not perfect. However, recent developments, especially in blockchain technology may prove valuable to the data collection industry.
Blockchain technology has enormous potential to transform the survey industry. With its immutability and decentralized nature, blockchain could improve the security and credibility of online surveys.
This article, the first in a two-part series, focuses on the positive impact of blockchain on data collection through surveys and will primarily focus on authenticity and safeguarding of user data.
Authenticity is a key factor when carrying out surveys or requiring completion of the questions.
For participants, it is vital for them to feel safe and secure when carrying out the task. Various surveys require some level of personal data submitted. Scammers are aware of this and may sometimes create fake surveys to obtain personal information that they can then use for fraud or other malicious activities.
For surveyors, authentic responses are what they require. The primary data they obtain from their participants will determine the outcome of the study they carried out using the surveys.
In 2016, the platform Sciencemag released startling figures on the data collected by survey companies. Their data showed that one in five surveys might contain fraudulent data. They carried out a test on the responses received and one in five reflected fraudulent responses.
Blockchain can help by first authenticating that the participants of the survey. As seen in the case of Amazon, responses can easily be manipulated. It was revealed that some of the 5-star ratings on Amazon could be fake- especially in regards to products relating to lesser known brands. The same can be done by parties that may want surveys to reflect a specific agenda they are driving. Participants can easily be influenced by responsible parties to achieve a particular outcome after the survey.
Authentication of participants from the survey itself creates an atmosphere of trust; thus users can submit their responses based on their genuine feelings about the questions posed on the survey. Blockchain’s attributes then safeguard the data submitted.
With blockchain’s immutability, data submitted on any platform is stored in its original form with little to no chance of interference by an outside source. Data submitted is therefore safeguarded through the transfer process from the participant to the surveyor.
According to Alfresco, blockchain can bring authenticity to record management. The same methods applied in record management can be used in surveys or data collection to ensure that data remains in its authentic form from the moment it enters the blockchain survey system.
Participants who decide to sign up for blockchain survey platforms will be assured of authentic platforms with no ulterior motives. How blockchain is set up allows for data to be submitted only via the consent of the participant. Reviews can also be done to determine how the data moved within the platform. Carrying out any fraud, therefore, becomes harder via blockchain technology.
Authenticity, through blockchain, is further maintained by the fact that surveyors can still go back to users to confirm their submissions on the platform using the unique cryptographic keys linked to the submitted surveys.
Safeguarding Participant Data
A quick search on fraudulent surveys reveals several ways to identify and avoid them- a clear indicator of the vast number of people who have suffered at the hands of scam surveys. Phishing is the official term used for companies or individuals that want to get data fraudulently via methods such as scam surveys.
The onset of online paid surveys resulted in a flood of online users seeking for surveys to make a quick dollar. Scammers use the appeal of gifts and money to trap their targets.
For example, in the United States, veterans are more likely to be affected by scam surveys based on a report by AARP. Individuals who have served their country should be protected against such fraud.
With blockchain technology at the forefront, surveys stand to protect their participants from existing nefarious actors.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger which contains data from its users across a peer to peer network that is continuously reconciled. The nature of blockchain makes it harder for fraudsters to instigate any unethical practices. The practices can easily be traced to the distributed ledger. The data stored therein is immutable.
The immutability of blockchain also poses a challenge to survey fraudsters. Surveys carried out through blockchain platforms are extremely hard to replicate. The record keeping nature of blockchain will make it easier for fraudsters to be identified on these platforms.
Further, registering in blockchain survey platforms such as the Insights Network requires potential users to submit legal information backed up by official government documents. The nature of transparency set by such blockchain survey platforms deters fraudsters from joining such survey platforms thus preventing the entry of fraudsters into the platform. The involvement of verified government documents locks out a massive percentage of cheats.
Insights Network’s platform allows for verification of both participants and surveyors on different platforms under the same blockchain- thus all parties on the platform can be verified.
Once user data is guaranteed, then data submission and participation become voluntary and truthful from the participant’s end. The confidence in data submitted also increases the belief of market feedback by companies that commissioned the survey; hence changes are likely to occur based on the responses.
In this first part of a two-part series, the article has tackled safeguarding of data and authenticity in the survey space. These two attributes are crucial in ensuring that the survey market space remains authentic and independent. We have seen the advantages that blockchain adds to this space in terms of authenticity and safeguarding of data. Because of its nature, blockchain can improve significantly on these two attributes.
In the second part of the series, closer examination will be attributed to the user benefits that arise from the integration of blockchain technology into the survey space. The article will also tackle how these benefits differ from those carried out in centralized platforms.
#Surveys #DataCollection #BlockchainSurveys
Disclaimer: Please only take this information as my OWN opinion and should not be regarded as financial advice in any situation. Please remember to DYOR before making any decisions.
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Analysis of Blockchain on Surveys and Data Collection | Part 1 was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.