The Association of Market and Social Research Organisations’ (AMSRO) new privacy code, the Privacy Code 2014, has become the first and only registered privacy code under the Australian Privacy Principles (APP).
Today’s data driven world, and a number of high profile data breaches, have seen a growing need to ensure Australians’ personal information is always protected and this new Code is a significant step in assuring this continues to occur in the market and social research sector.
AMSRO, Australia’s peak body for the market and social research industry, developed the new code and the Australian-first Trust Mark in March, following changes to the Australian Privacy Act.
Research released by the Australian Privacy Commissioner last year found that 60% of Australians decided not to deal with an organisation because of concerns about privacy and 74% reported they were more concerned about providing information via the internet than they were two years earlier.
Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said: “I’m very pleased to have worked with AMSRO in the development of the Code. It is the first industry-led APP Code to be registered under new Australian privacy laws. This is a significant step that highlights the value of co-regulatory schemes under the Privacy Act and it demonstrates the importance of privacy for the marketing and social research industry.”
The new code sets out how the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in the Privacy Act are to be applied and complied with by AMSRO members in relation to the collection, retention, use, disclosure and destruction of personal information in market and social research.
AMSRO President Nicola Hepenstall said: “The registration of our code is the final step in our quest to have the highest ethical and privacy standards in our industry. Our Code is a roadmap for members and critical in terms of consumer trust and voluntary cooperation in research, plus industry self-regulation.
“It is a significant milestone to be the first registered APP privacy code in the country and it sets a clear benchmark of good practice.
“Our industry is unique because AMSRO members are co-regulated under the privacy code with AMSRO as the administrator and the Privacy Commissioner as the adjudicator of the Code. The fact that we have a 10-year record without a finding of a privacy breach demonstrates the success of AMSRO in protecting the industry and people who engage in market and social research.”
AMSRO pioneered its own privacy code for members in 2003, which won an Australian Privacy Award in 2009.
AMSRO has also established a Privacy Compliance Committee (PCC), chaired by Terry Aulich, the former Tasmanian Senator who first recommended the creation of a Privacy Act for Australia. The PCC oversees privacy matters for members and was instrumental in developing the new 2014 code.
The AMSRO Trust Mark is a seal of endorsement that ensures AMSRO member companies are compliant with the highest ethical standards, particularly in regards to privacy and the new code. It also assures those people who engage in research that their information is protected.
More than 80 AMSRO market and social research member companies are now working under the Trust Mark.
“The introduction of the AMSRO Trust Mark provides me with a simple way I can demonstrate to my non research colleagues the quality and credentials of the research suppliers I recommend. I can assure them we are buying research from an ethical company that stands up to regular and independent auditing and one with stringent operational policies. We can be sure AGL will be represented in a highly professional manner and that we can rely on the results that we receive,” AGL manager, insights Stephen Paton said.
There are three criteria AMSRO member companies must meet to qualify for the Trust Mark: adherence to the Privacy (Market & Social Research) Code, the AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour, and certification to the International Standard for Market, Opinion and Social Research.
Westfield director, marketing John Batistich said: “The AMSRO Trust Mark is a reassurance that we are working with legitimate, ethical research professionals and that the research is conducted with the highest ethical and quality standards.”