Invasion of privacy is not an issue that is unique to marketing research. It also occurs in many other aspects of business and has heightened people's sensitivity
Ethical considerations in marketing research
Invasion of privacy
Ethical considerations in marketing research to the privacy issue. However, actually defining when a person's privacy is invaded may be difficult. For example, is observing the actions of a shopper in a supermarket an invasion of his privacy? Is questioning a person about her income, product use or future purchase plans an invasion of privacy?
Up to the present, it has been felt that observing a person's public actions (e.g. shopping in a supermarket) does not infringe on privacy. It is also maintained that information willingly provided by respondents in a survey does not constitute an invasion of privacy, since the person's participation implies consent. However, questions are currently being raised about whether many respondents in surveys appreciate when they are in situations where they must provide information (as is the case in government census studies) and when they are in situations where they have a real choice of whether to provide information. Since there is no widely acceptable definition of privacy, the invasion of privacy issue is of considerable concern for marketing researchers.
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