Security and Privacy for GAO Web Survey Respondents

In the course of our audit work, GAO sometimes uses web surveys to collect information from members of the public. If you respond to a survey, GAO takes the following steps to secure your data and protect your privacy:


GAO recognizes the importance of protecting the information collected in the operation of its web surveys, which are only used to collect unclassified information. We take steps to maintain the security of this information. GAO uses the survey software Qualtrics, which has FedRAMP approval.


GAO will not disclose PII as  required by law. Generally, we present the survey responses in summary. 

Collecting Survey Data on the Internet

GAO assures the safe transmission of data between your computer and Qualtrics software by requiring you to use a web browser that supports the transport security layer version 1.2 protocol to prevent anyone who may intercept the communication from discovering the contents of our questions or your answers to those questions.

To further protect the data while the survey is ongoing, we

  • only disclose the survey URL to respondents and GAO staff working on the project
  • give you a unique link that allows you to access only your survey information

All data files that we obtain using a web survey become part of GAO's audit documentation for an audit engagement. For more information on how we protect these records, see Public Access to GAO Records. GAO's Chief Quality Officer is responsible for fulfilling requests for our audit documentation.

U.S. Government Accountability Office

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the "congressional watchdog," GAO examines how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, reliable information to help the government save money and work more efficiently.