Within the realm of survey research, privacy consists of the right to control access to one's self and one's personal information. Private behavior occurs in a context in which an individual can reasonably expect that no observation or recording is taking place. Privacy is distinct from confidentiality in that privacy refers to the protection of the right of individuals, whereas confidentiality refers to the protection of the data collected.

Identity, health and financial information, criminal justice involvement and court records, education, and work performance data are commonly regarded as private, despite the fact that many are commonly accessible through credit-reporting background check agencies.

The distinction between public and private behaviors is often ambiguous. Some information that becomes part of public record, such as a person's phone number, ...

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