Your Privacy and Data Protection

We respect your privacy and protect your data professionally.

To enable us to shine a light on the practice of microtargeting, we require the assistance of a large number of people willing to donate their data to help society understand this issue. To collect this data we have developed a simple browser extension called EScope (Election Scope) to collect data from volunteers on political campaign ads they are exposed to in the course of their normal web browsing. It is simple to install and uninstall with NO impact on your everyday web use. Escope will NOT collect any transaction data (e.g., bank, credit, online shopping, etc.), encrypted data requiring user credentials, or individual’s user credentials themselves.

The project has been approved by the University of Wisonsin-Madison IRB (Internal Review Board for Human Subject Protection) and all team members are certified by that board. The IRB reviews all human research protocols in accordance with federal regulations, state laws, and local and University policies. The IRB is composed of members from various disciplines within the education, social, and behavioral sciences as well as community members.

We understand the possible concerns about privacy that potential participants may have. All of the information provided by participants will be kept completely confidential. Participants will be assigned a unique ID number when they opt to participate in the study. Every possible measure will be taken to protect privacy, including storing responses on a secure server. While we expect to build up an aggregate-level, ad content only data that is shareable with our research partners, survey responses, browsing/search histories, and other information will not be accessed by anyone other than our professionally trained research team.

It is likely that this information will be used in future academic studies and published in academic journals. We anticipate significant media interest in the project, but we will only provide data to the media at aggregate level. We also publish the aggregate-level findings to this page.

If you have any specific questions related to privacy, please check our FAQ page to see if the question is answered there, or contact one of our team members who will be happy to answer your query.