Without the generous cooperation of the people who participate in the NLSY97, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics could not fulfill its mission to provide vital information about the U.S. economy and society. Your participation helps to ensure that the NLSY97 accurately reflects the experiences and concerns of people in your generation. All the people who work on the NLSY97—including the people from NORC who interview you and the people who help manage the survey at NORC, the Ohio State University Center for Human Resource Research, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—must undergo thorough background checks to ensure they are suited for working with confidential information. They also go through frequent training about the steps they must take to protect your privacy. The information that you provide can only be used to produce statistics. In other words, it can be used to describe or analyze the characteristics only of groups, not individuals, households, or specific organizations. Under federal law, if anyone willfully violates your confidentiality, they could face up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Here are some steps we take to ensure that your information does not fall into the wrong hands even accidentally:
- Your name is never kept with your survey answers so no one can know how you responded.
- We omit the name of the study from any materials or phone messages that may be seen or heard by someone other than you.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not even know your name or have any way to identify you.
- We do not sell or provide your name to any mailing lists, organizations, or government agencies.
- The laptops used by the field interviewers have several levels of security. Once you give us your information, it is encrypted so that no one can see your information if the laptop is lost or stolen.
- Your information is sent by a secure connection from the laptop to our central computer and then is automatically deleted from the laptop. The central computer also is protected by multiple layers of security to ensure that no one can see your information without proper permission.