The Market Research Society launches 'Fair Data' mark to restore public trust in organisations using personal data


By Gillian West, Social media manager

January 28, 2013 | 3 min read

Following the news that half of all senior executives remain unaware of the challenges the draft EU Data Protection Regulation may have on their businesses the Market Research Society (MRS) has launched a new ethical mark for personal data.

Launched to tie in with World Data Privacy Day, the mark - known as Fair Data - means members of the public will be able to identify the organisations which collect, use and retain personal data properly and ethically from those that do not.

One of the first b2c companies to sign up to Fair Data is feminine hygiene brand Lil-lets. Speaking of the brands involvement, Lil-lets head of marketing, Mary Young, said: “Lil-lets welcomes the Fair Data initiative. We speak with teenage girls and mums on a daily basis and value the importance of data integrity, which is critical to building trust between our brand and our consumers.”

Also involved in the initiative is GlaxoSmithKline, shopper science director, Crispin Haywood, had this to say about the healthcare company’s involvement: “Adopting a transparent approach to personal data is key in ensuring that research respondents feel confident that their data will be used in an ethical and responsible way. The Fair Data Principles provide a clear workable guideline for companies to adhere to and will undoubtedly help establish the right data management standards across the research industry.”

Launched for use in both the public and private sector, Fair Data aims to become the instantly recognisable standard for an organisation that can be trusted to use personal data correctly. In order to display the Fair Data logo organisations must first sign up to ten core principles.

MRS chief executive, Jane Frost CBE, commented: “We believe that there is a real need to help the public identify with whom they can trust their data. Public concern is at an all-time high and we are getting increasing numbers of complaints about data use. 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.”

The information commissioner, Christopher Graham, added: “If the public are to let their personal data be used then they need to know which organisations they can trust to use it properly. Organisations need to make a public, visible commitment to standards in the handling of the personal data of others.”


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