The UK-based Market Research Society (MRS) has chosen today - officially Data Privacy Day - to launch a new kite mark scheme, Fair Data. The mark identifies organisations which 'collect, use and retain personal data properly and ethically'.
Covering both companies and public sector bodies, the scheme requires either membership of the MRS (and therefore adherence to its Code of Conduct), or acceptance of ten core principles.
MRS Chief Executive Jane Frost (pictured) CBE says the Society perceives 'a real need to help the public identify with whom they can trust their data' and has received 'increasing numbers of complaints about data use.' She adds: 'The research sector that MRS represents has been at the forefront of ethical personal data collection and use for decades... We work closely with the Office of the Information Commissioner and it is appropriate therefore that we should take a leading role on this issue.'
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham endorses the scheme and comments: 'Organisations need to make a public, visible commitment to standards in the handling of the personal data of others... My office has worked with MRS in the past on issues arising in the research area and I know they have the experience to launch this scheme.'
Eight founder supporters of the scheme include client companies Lil-lets and GlaxoSmithKline, plus PricewaterhouseCoopers and five research agencies: GfK NOP, Millward Brown, Opinion Leader, Research Now, and Chime Insight & Engagement Group.
The mark will be backed up by an audit process, mandatory for all client organisations that are not already MRS accredited, and an advisory service which will include face-to-face, telephone and e-mail support as well as best practice seminars. Where organisations are not MRS members, the audit will be conducted by audit partner the ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations).
The scheme - online at www.fairdata.org.uk - is launched as the EU debates an update to its Data Protection Directive - see http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/index_en.htm .
The ten Fair Data Principles are as follows:
All articles 2006-19 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.