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Should access to unmonitored web pages be criminalised?

Study Title: Should access to unmonitored web pages be criminalised?

Researcher: Zara Smith

ERGO number:   47691

Please check the consent tick box at the bottom of this page. Informed consent will be assumed by checking the tick box and continuing with the survey.                                                                       

You are being invited to take part in the above research study. To help you decide whether you would like to take part or not, it is important that you understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please read the information below carefully and ask questions if anything is not clear or you would like more information before you decide to take part in this research.  You may like to discuss it with others but it is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you are happy to participate you will be asked to sign a consent form.

What is the research about?

The information provided will be used anonymously in dissertation research. The research will be conducted by Zara Smith, a third year Criminology student at the University of Southampton. The research will focus on unmonitored web pages, also referred to as the deep web, and aims to assess whether access to these web pages should be criminalised and the impact this may or may not have on crime, specifically the trade of illicit drugs. The questions asked will include whether you have accessed unmonitored web pages and your opinions regarding whether they should be criminalised.

Why have I been asked to participate?

You have been asked to participate as you have chosen to click the link. 

What will happen to me if I take part?

You will be asked to complete a short questionnaire which should take no longer than 15 minutes. All data will be collected anonymously. If you tick the box at the bottom of the page your informed consent is presumed. You have the right to stop the survey at any time should you not wish to continue.

Are there any benefits in my taking part?

There is no direct benefit however, research may benefit others by improving current understanding regarding unmonitored web pages and legislation and your participation is greatly appreciated.

Are there any risks involved?

There are no risks involved in this study as all data is collected anonymously and participants have the right to withdraw at any time.

What data will be collected?

No personal data will be collected. Data will be collected regarding your access of unmonitored web pages and opinions on criminalisation.

Will my participation be confidential?

Your participation and the information we collect about you during the course of the research will be kept strictly confidential.

Only members of the research team and responsible members of the University of Southampton may be given access to data about you for monitoring purposes and/or to carry out an audit of the study to ensure that the research is complying with applicable regulations. Individuals from regulatory authorities (people who check that we are carrying out the study correctly) may require access to your data. All of these people have a duty to keep your information, as a research participant, strictly confidential.

All data will be stored on a password protected laptop and deleted once the research has been completed.

Do I have to take part?

No, it is entirely up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you decide you want to take part, you will need to sign a consent form to show you have agreed to take part.

What happens if I change my mind?

You have the right to change your mind and withdraw at any time without giving a reason and without your participant rights being affected. Anonymous data cannot be withdrawn after they have been submitted but you still have the right to withdraw before completing the questionnaire.

If you withdraw from the study, we will keep the information about you that we have already obtained for the purposes of achieving the objectives of the study only.

What will happen to the results of the research?

Your personal details will remain strictly confidential. Research findings made available in any reports or publications will not include information that can directly identify you without your specific consent. Your data will not be kept for future studies and will only be used for analysis in my dissertation.

Where can I get more information?

For more information, you may contact the researcher at

What happens if there is a problem?

If you have a concern about any aspect of this study, you should speak to the researchers who will do their best to answer your questions.

If you remain unhappy or have a complaint about any aspect of this study, please contact the University of Southampton Research Integrity and Governance Manager (023 8059 5058,

Data Protection Privacy Notice

The University of Southampton conducts research to the highest standards of research integrity. As a publicly-funded organisation, the University has to ensure that it is in the public interest when we use personally-identifiable information about people who have agreed to take part in research.  This means that when you agree to take part in a research study, we will use information about you in the ways needed, and for the purposes specified, to conduct and complete the research project. Under data protection law, ‘Personal data’ means any information that relates to and is capable of identifying a living individual. The University’s data protection policy governing the use of personal data by the University can be found on its website (

This Participant Information Sheet tells you what data will be collected for this project and whether this includes any personal data. Please ask the research team if you have any questions or are unclear what data is being collected about you.

Our privacy notice for research participants provides more information on how the University of Southampton collects and uses your personal data when you take part in one of our research projects and can be found at

Any personal data we collect in this study will be used only for the purposes of carrying out our research and will be handled according to the University’s policies in line with data protection law. If any personal data is used from which you can be identified directly, it will not be disclosed to anyone else without your consent unless the University of Southampton is required by law to disclose it.

Data protection law requires us to have a valid legal reason (‘lawful basis’) to process and use your Personal data. The lawful basis for processing personal information in this research study is for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. Personal data collected for research will not be used for any other purpose.

For the purposes of data protection law, the University of Southampton is the ‘Data Controller’ for this study, which means that we are responsible for looking after your information and using it properly.

To safeguard your rights, we will use the minimum personal data necessary to achieve our research study objectives. Your data protection rights – such as to access, change, or transfer such information - may be limited, however, in order for the research output to be reliable and accurate. The University will not do anything with your personal data that you would not reasonably expect.

If you have any questions about how your personal data is used, or wish to exercise any of your rights, please consult the University’s data protection webpage ( where you can make a request using our online form. If you need further assistance, please contact the University’s Data Protection Officer (

Thank you for taking the time to read the information sheet and considering taking part in the research. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

Your participation is voluntary and you may withdraw before submission for any reason without your participation rights being affected. If you withdraw from the study after submission it may not be possible to remove your data once your personal information is no longer linked to that data. You will not be directly identified in any reports of the research.

Please check the box below to indicate that you consent to take part in the survey. This indicates that you have read and understood the information sheet above and agree for your data to be used for the purpose of the study.