Frequently Asked Questions on the Fair Data Scheme
- What is Fair Data?
Fair Data is a certification launched in Australia in November 2018 by the Australian Market & Social Research Society (AMSRS) to show which companies handle their customer’s personal data fairly. A Fair Data company must meet the 10 Fair Data Principles.
The AMSRS launched this scheme along with new Partnership offers for research companies and client organisations which encompass AMSRS individual membership for their employees.
A quality process standard developed by the Market Research Society (MRS) in the UK, Fair Data is viewed by the AMSRS as an important way for consumers to identify those companies who manage customer data with respect, transparency and in a secure way.
The Fair Data scheme aligns with the AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour to which all members agree to adhere and also with the individual CPD and accreditation scheme – Qualified Professional Researcher (QPR). The Fair Data Principles also align with the Australian privacy legislation. Fair Data is a distinct way to differentiate to consumers and participants which organisations manage personal data ethically and in accordance with the law.
The Fair Data mark may only be used by signatories to the Fair Data principles in Australia with the permission of the AMSRS.
- What is the Fair Data mark?
The Fair Data mark is a consumer facing ethical mark which appears on corporate materials as a guarantee that an organisation meets the Fair Data Principles.
From March 2018, the AMSRS offered Partnerships for all types of organisations (client organisations, government departments, agencies, small research businesses, management consultants, panel providers, data insights companies etc) who have an interest in market and social research.
All types of organisations (whether they join the AMSRS as a Company Partner or Client Partner or not) will be able to access the Fair Data scheme if they meet the required criteria.
If you are an AMSRS Company Partner or Client Partner you will be asked to undertake a third party audit by a third party Certification body to ensure the organisation has appropriate processes and procedures in place to be compliant with the Fair Data Principles. Access to the Fair Data mark is an included benefit of AMSRS Company and Client Partners and no additional administration charges apply.
If you are not an AMSRS Company Partner but you are a research supplier or client interested in using the Fair Data mark, you will be asked to pay an annual administration fee to participate in the Fair Data program to the AMSRS and then you will need to undertake a third party audit by an approved Fair Data certification body annually to ensure your organisation has appropriate processes and procedures in place to be compliant with the Fair Data Principles. Such organisations will appear in the list of accredited non-Partner organisations on the AMSRS website and www.fairdata.com.au.
As a Fair Data organisation, you can trust that we will manage and treat your personal data with respect. We will collect, store and manage it in an unbiased and secure way. We will only use your personal data for purposes that we have informed you about and sought your consent for. We will always be transparent about the personal data we collect and how we use it.
Note: If there is a complaint received about a Fair Data organisation then AMSRS Disciplinary regulations apply and the most senior member of the organisation would be held responsible. The investigation may include undertaking a Fair Data audit.
- What are the Fair Data Principles?
The Fair Data principles are based upon the concept of T.R.U.S.T. You can Trust that Fair Data organisations will manage and treat customer data with Respect; that they will use it in an Unbiased and Secure way and will always be Transparent about what they collect about customers and how they use customer data.
Respecting these principles ensures that an organisation’s use of personal data is fully compliant with current regulations and codes – and reflects public opinion. The principles support and complement the Australian Privacy Principles and other standards schemes such as ISOs and the UK Data Protection Act.
By becoming a Fair Data company you agree to adhere to ten core principles. The principles support and complement other standards such as ISOs, and the requirements of Data Protection legislation.
The ten core principles of Fair Data work in tandem with the AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour:
- CONSENT. We will ensure all personal data is collected with participants’/customers’ consent.
- USE. We will not use personal data for any purpose other than that for which consent was given, respecting participants’/customers’ wishes about the use of their data.
- ACCESS. We will ensure customers have access to their personal data and we will tell them how we use it.
- SECURITY. We will protect personal data and keep it secure and confidential.
- RESPECT. We will ensure staff understand personal data is just that – personal – and ensure that it is treated it with respect.
- PROTECTION. We will ensure vulnerable and underage people are properly protected by the processes we use for data collection.
- SUPPLY CHAIN. We will manage our data supply chain to the same ethical standards we expect from other suppliers.
- PROCUREMENT. We will ensure ethical best practice in personal data is integral to our procurement process.
- TRAINING. We will ensure all staff who have access to personal data are properly trained in its use.
- REPUTATION. We will not use personal data if there is uncertainty as to whether the Fair Data Principles have been applied.
AMSRS members and Company and Client Partners are regulated under the AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour. This Code covers the collection and use of personal data and emphasises the need to protect all respondents from harm – particularly the young and vulnerable.
- Why is Fair Data important for consumers?
Fair Data is a trust mark enabling consumers to identify an organisation that is ethical and transparent about how they handle consumer and research participants’ personal data.
- Why is Fair Data important for organisations?
Fair Data is a recognisable mark to show which organisations can be trusted to use personal data in an ethical way.
Consumer organisations – you can show customers you are ethical, transparent and responsible by displaying a badge that will be as recognisable and trusted as the Fairtrade mark. This in turn will reinforce your corporate responsibility program and generate goodwill for your customer brand.
For Suppliers of research and data – you can instantly show your clients that you adhere to the highest standards of data collection, processing and use. Fair Data says to any company using your data or commissioning research that they can do so with complete confidence. It will remove any concerns that research participants might have about engaging in and supporting your research.
Public/government bodies – you can ensure that the public trusts and engages your social research. You can ensure the evidence you need to base your important policy decisions on is reliable. Equally you can show your supply chain what your values are.
For Consumers – Fair Data is a recognisable mark that enables consumers to make educated choices about their personal data. If you interact with a Fair Data organisation you have confidence that your information is safe.
- Where will Fair Data certified organisations be listed?
All Fair Data organisations will be listed on the AMSRS website and the Fair Data website www.fairdata.com.au.
- What do I get by engaging with a Fair Data organisation?
By engaging with organisations that carry the Fair Data mark, consumers can be assured that their personal data will be treated with respect, only used for purposes which consumers agree to and will be collected and retained in a transparent, legal and ethical manner.
- Why don’t all organisations have the Fair Data mark?
Fair Data is a voluntary certification program that has been adopted by the AMSRS to encourage organisations to improve best practice in the collection, use and retention of customer and personal data.
Some organisations may claim that they meet all consumer and personal data requirements, but only those organisations that have achieved Fair Data accreditation can provide consumers independent verification that they meet their legal and ethical requirements.
- How do I get my organisation accredited?
- How do the Fair Data Principles and use of data relate to the AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour?
The AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour was developed with a focus on protecting research participants and their data. AMSRS extensive experience in regulating its Code and advising its members on data issues means it is ideally placed to manage the Fair Data scheme in Australia.
The AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour contains principles and rules which mirror the Fair Data requirements. However, the AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour is much more extensive as it relates to all aspects of the research process not just data collection and use.
- What about areas that are not covered by the Fair Data Principles but are within the AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour? How do these relate to Fair Data organisations?
The AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour not only regulates researchers when collecting customer data it also sets rules on issues such as research design and research reporting. These are essential for researchers but not necessarily for all those that have customer databases. The Fair Data Principles concentrate on issues that are essential for all organisations that own, collect, use and store customer and personal data.
- How does the AMSRS Code and the Fair Data Principles fit in with the Australian Privacy Principles?
The AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour and the 10 Fair Data Principles are in alignment with Australian Privacy legislation and the APPs.
The AMSRS have developed a document that shows how these three documents interact and this can be found on the AMSRS and Fair data websites.
- If an organisation breaches the Fair Data Principles what happens?
If a complaint is received that indicates the Fair Data Principles have been breached the organisations is obliged to submit to either an investigation or a third party audit. If the organisation has links to the AMSRS the normal AMSRS complaint or disciplinary procedures will apply, if an organisation has no links to the AMSRS, the audit process will apply.
For more information on the AMSRO Trustmark visit www.amsro.com.au
- Do organisations have to be either an AMSRS Company Partner or have AMSRS members to become a Fair Data organisation?
For research organisations it is essential that there is at least one AMSRS individual member in the organisation. For non-research organisations such as clients, organisations without members may sign up to the Fair Data program.
The AMSRS is committed to promoting and developing the market, social and data driven insights industry in Australia by providing standards, professional development opportunities and by representing the profession to external stakeholders.
The interests of the nation and community are served by the informed decision-making that results from a research profession that adopts high standards of ethics, quality and professional development.