I created this topic, because I see researchers on this forum, and everywhere else create surveys using Google Forms (not just researchers, but just about anyone creating a survey, like the startup incubator I had to describe in detail my innovative idea to, in a 20-page form).
The description often states: “We only use your personal data for our research”, or “This survey is anonymous”, etc.
I see this claim made by many (most) people who are using Google Forms. This service is ‘free’ and it is very easy to set up a survey like yours. However, you are not anonymous when filling out the survey.
You give all the data away to Google and its affiliates to be used in any way they seem fit. And remember, Google is a bigger data harvester than even Facebook.
When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps).
Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.
When someone fills out the form (or browses the web in general), in addition to the data they provide, they leak a detailed data footprint with which the person can (and will) be identified.
Personally I think it should be a best-practice if researchers use professional tools to conduct their research. For surveys that would entail selecting a privacy-respecting online survey tool.
USES OF INFORMATION
Any information shared with QuestionPro during the creation of a survey is owned solely by the administrator of that survey. By the nature of how our service works, surveys need to be shared via a URL on the Internet. We provide the option to password-protect your surveys if they contain sensitive content. Email addresses uploaded to the system for the purpose of sending survey invitations and email communication are owned solely by the survey administrator. We will never share any information uploaded to the system with any 3rd parties. Data collected through surveys is owned solely by the survey administrator. By default, the data is only accessible by providing a username and password and logging into the site.