Update: The final lineup of panelists is now in place for this important debate. Featuring representatives from MRS, ESOMAR, and CASRO as well as international thought leaders on the future of market research, this is sure to be a CAN”T MISS event! You can check out Radio NewMR today for a “warm-up” debate as Brian Tarran of Research Magazine joins Ray Poynter and I for a discussion on the broader implications of these issues.
The Data Privacy debate has been percolating for some time now, but the Market Research Society in the UK has brought it to a rapid boil with the recent publication of their discussion paper on the topic. Michalis Michael of Digital MR was the first to respond with his blog post questioning the wisdom of the position taken by the MRS. This follows on the heels of guidelines being developed by CASRO and ESOMAR and the ongoing work by the MRA here in the U.S. to protect market research from some of the legislation around data privacy issues being proposed here.
Ray Poynter does a great job of explaining the issues involved with the MRS paper on his blog titled It’s time for market research to join 21st Century so I won’t recap it all here other than to say that I agree with Ray’s points. Moreover I believe that any efforts by legislative bodies to regulate such a rapidly evolving issue will fail and that if MR adopts strategies such as what the MRS has proposed that we’ll be sealing our own fate and might as well close shop now; MR simply will NOT be relevant or competitive in the 21st Century.
I think there are three core questions to address in this debate:
- What constitutes privacy in the modern age of big data and what ethical obligations do companies have in how we collect and use that data?
- Is the utilization of these open sources of data even market research by the classical definition? If not, then do the guidelines being established by industry trade orgs even have any relevance?
- As firms that do not identify themselves as “market research” but clearly are competitive to traditional MR increasingly gain market share, is it business suicide to align with a perhaps outdated definition and code of standards?
So those are the issues involved with this topic, and they are relevant indeed. In fact, I think they very well may define the future of our industry more than anything else that is impacting us today. Because we think this issue is so critical and it needs more discussion NewMR & GreenBook, with the support of MRGA & NGMR, have decided to hold a public forum debate on the topic of data privacy so that the whole industry can get involved in this important discussion. Here are the details:
When: Monday, August 22 at 12:00 EST
Where: Hosted on both the NewMR webinar system and the MRGA 365 Virtual Event platform. Register here: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/390155094
Panelists: Barry Ryan, Adam Phillips, Peter Milla, Ray Poynter, Tom H.C. Anderson, & Michalis Michael. Moderated by Andrew Jeavons and hosted by yours truly.
Presented in cooperation with NewMR, GreenBook, MRGA, and NGMR.
This will be a one-hour informal debate, with the last 15 minutes reserved for audience participation via Twitter (hashtag #MRDP) and questions asked on the event platform. Space is limited to the first 500 registrants, so register now!
We hope you’ll join us for is what is sure to be an informative, entertaining, and most of all very useful event that has a direct impact on the future of our entire industry!