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AMSRO supports ACCC’s report to protect personal data

Jul 29 2019

The Association of Market and Social Research Organisations (AMSRO) today supported the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry final report to provide increased protection for individuals across the digital landscape.

“Rigorously protecting people’s personal information, ethical behaviour and independent certification are the three pillars that underpin AMSRO member company compliance.  The ACCC’s recommendations to beef up consumer privacy protections by increasing consent and notification requirements of digital platforms, including Google and Facebook, is very welcome, and closely mirrors the way that legitimate market research companies in Australia currently deal with consumer data,” said Craig Young, AMSRO President.

“Personal information for market and social research conducted by AMSRO member organisations is collected only with specific and informed consent and under strict codes and practices, and it’s high time that other organisations collecting, storing and sharing personal information and data comply with a similar regime.  If we are to expect ongoing co-operation from the public, whose opinions are the lifeblood of our industry and others, we all need to be transparent, responsible and held to account.

“AMSRO and its members will fully examine the ACCC’s final report over the coming week and be available to consult with the government should the need arise.”

AMSRO member organisations adhere not only to Australia’s first and only Australian Privacy Principles (APP) registered industry privacy code but also an industry ‘Trust Mark’ – a seal of endorsement that assures business and government organisations they are buying research that is quality-tested and meets not only ethical standards but also goes over and above minimal privacy legislation.  The Trust Mark provides the highest level of protection to companies using research services, and in turn, to consumers.

AMSRO members working under the industry Trust Mark:

  1. Work under Australia’s first and only registered (APP) Industry Privacy (Market and Social Research) Code enshrined in Australian law since 2003. The Code is adjudicated by the Australian Privacy Commissioner and administered by AMSRO
  2. Have an independent annual audit for ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) certification 
  3. Adhere to the industry code of ethics.

AMSRO member companies have a long and successful track record in safeguarding respondent data and continue to conduct legitimate research working under strict privacy rules that protect confidentiality and prohibit any selling.

The Privacy (Market and Social Research) Code imposes some additional requirements including:

  • personal information collected for market and social research is de-identified, unless required for legitimate research purposes (e.g. longitudinal studies or at the respondent’s request)
  • participation by research subjects in market and social research as carried out by AMSRO members is always voluntary
  • market and social researchers use the information collected only for research purposes.

A $1 billion industry, market and social research is an important service that benefits all Australians. From television ratings to surveys of customer satisfaction and the development of products and services, to studies on public health in Australia, market and social research provides valuable information about the society in which we live. This information helps government, commercial and not-for-profit organisations make informed decisions based upon the interests and needs of their constituents, clients and the general public.

With the national and international focus now on digital platforms, having rigorous privacy compliance processes in organisations will be imperative as consumers and regulators rightfully ramp up their expectations regarding appropriate data use and handling.