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Transcription for Dedoosers Part II: Data Security and Privacy Considerations

8/7/2022
Written by: Kris Castner, M.A., M.A., A.B.D.
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"What are privacy issues related to transcription tools? How can I protect my data?”

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Quiz yourself with the following question: “Do you know how to evaluate the security protocols of your current transcription service?”
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Last month, we shared a few resources to make your transcription process easier in terms of keeping overall costs relatively low.  As you’ll remember, transcription is a step in the Dedoose  research checklist that must be completed prior to beginning your project in the app.
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This month, we’re following up with a related post about transcription tools and security considerations. Everyone seems to be talking about data security and privacy these days, and your go-to transcription tool or company should not be immune to this discussion, either.
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If you’re looking for telltale signs of a secure transcription company, including questions to ask, you’ve come to the right place.
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"How Secure Is My Transcription Company?”
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Let’s focus on outsourced transcription processes for a moment. There are several effective ways you can educate yourself about data storage, privacy, and management standards well before enlisting services.
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For convenience, we’ll map areas of interest according to signs of a secure transcription company and areas that might require more extensive follow-up discussions depending upon your data, project, or topics of concern.
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Signs of a Secure Transcription Company
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  • Established encryption methods to protect sensitive data
  • Clear outline of when the provider themselves may access data
  • GDPR Coverage: (aka General Data Protection Regulation) refers to a set of regulations strictly imposed for companies with customers in or data from Europe
  • Clear outline of when internal employees may access data
  • Two-factor authentication for login process
  • ISO 27001 & 9001 Certification
  • Does not utilize offshore transcribers
  • Participates in Transparency Reporting*
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*Explore the up-to-date listing of providers who have joined efforts to provide transparency reporting to clients as standard practice.
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A note on Transparency Reporting: this is information to help you understand which, if any, third-party requests for data have been submitted to and/or complied with by your transcription hosting company. This includes -but is not limited to- law enforcement, which for obvious research purposes, may stand to impact your decision to choose one provider over another depending upon the nature of your work.
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Added Bonus: if the transcription company in question doesn’t hedge when you raise any of the topics mentioned above or below, you can take this as another positive sign!
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Sensitive Privacy Areas to Discuss with Transcription Companies
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  • TLS encryption and AES-256 encryption: having this is good- but be aware these certifications do not prevent sensitive information from being viewed by employees
  • Consider Your Commitments: If your own reputation is on the line for confidentiality of the data at hand, you should consider your comfort level with company employees potentially reviewing it
  • Committing to Security vs. Certification: Many services that use automated speech recognition, for instance, simply promise not to view transcriptions. Is this good enough for you? What about NDAs (aka non-disclosure agreements)? Confidentiality agreements?
  • Process for the deletion of files, and access rights once jobs are complete
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You can also review the company’s privacy policy to determine whether data will be uploaded to become a part of their training body, which is also a relatively common practice depending on the company.
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NOTE: This last area can be particularly important to confirm for all information subject to HIPAA or similar protection laws.
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"Are Some Transcription Resources More Secure Than Others?”

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Privacy Assessment: Questions to Consider
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You can take steps to plan your security conversation with a transcription company by walking through the process and assessing where security concerns are the most likely to arise.
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If you are working with audio content, for example, you should consider which if any identifying information will remain in the file.
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When you are preparing to send files to the provider, you can shield information by randomizing the file name. You are also encouraged to pre-scan documents for viruses, and ensure the transcription website and company tools use SSL connections.
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When it comes to the transcription exchange procedure, consider whether you will be required to login to access files. If so, you should plan to ask about authentication methods used by the company.
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Don’t forget to ask about their internal update processes, and how often this is performed!
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If you or a team member should need to access your data moving forward, you should confirm those methods available to you ahead of time.
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In the event you work with non-local team members, you may need to ask additional questions concerning data sharing options.
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You will also need to identify the process for vendor retention and storage:
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  • How long will the data be kept by the transcription company?
  • Will this be encrypted- and at what level?
  • Will you have deletion rights?
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POLICY CLARIFICATION: If you are interested in the specific speech-to-text data policies of frequently used services, including Google and Microsoft, check out their policies here (Google) and here (Microsoft).
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Long Story Short: Know What Makes Sense to Consider, Ask, and Confirm

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If the questions posed above are foreign to you, or you don’t currently know who at your transcription company to ask for the answers to this information, chances are high that you need to conduct a safety and privacy audit.
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Using the tips and basics outlined above, get started by contacting your transcription company’s support staff, and/or data manager.
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If you have not yet outsourced or otherwise arranged transcription services, this can be used as a baseline measure to compare the offerings of companies, or peruse the internal policies of transcription apps themselves.
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We May Not Offer Transcription, But We Do Offer a 30-Day Trial!

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As always, we offer the first 30 days of your Dedoose trial completely for free!
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(No kidding, you don’t even need a credit card to sign up.)
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If you are a student, we also have your back. Simply email a copy of your valid ID to support@dedoose.com and we will hook you up with our $10.95/month rate!
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You should also know that we are proud to extend friendly support for both technical and methodological questions. Whether you need help importing media to get started, or have a question about best practices for managing a codebook, we have experts to help you out.
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Simply put, we believe in users being able to connect and speak with a person when you have a question, concern, or comment.
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We believe in serving you, our users, because without you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we love, or grow our community of researchers, professionals, and students.
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As always, we insist that you don’t take our word for it.
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Experience the latest, most up to date, full access version of Dedoose for yourself today.
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Think about it: give us a try for 30 days.
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Heck, show us your bill via an email to support@dedoose.com to let us know what you as an individual, student, or member of a larger team is currently paying for your qualitative software analysis tool.
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We’re confident we can offer you better value, pricing and user experience, peppered with added support and friendliness in what we do.
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Stay in the Know: Follow Us on Social!

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Although we have a few more weeks before the official start of the academic calendar, now is the perfect time to catch up with everything going on with Dedoose.
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Join our Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, or Pinterest communities where you can stay abreast of all the latest news, version upgrades and user enhancements.
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We’ll be using our channels to connect with our users more this Fall in particular, as we continue to grow our Dedoose community of researchers, students, and data professionals.
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*Note: we’re updating videos to reflect the latest Version 9, but they are still a great way to get started or advance your skillset in Dedoose if you’re familiar with another interface.
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If you ever have questions about a feature, chart, or tool, contact our friendly support at support@dedoose.com (you can ask for Kurt in the subject line).;
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