Media Release

Australia’s peak body for the market and social research industry, the Association of Market & Social Research Organisations (AMSRO) has developed its own privacy code for members following the release of the new Privacy Amendment Act on March 12 2014.

Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said: “The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner doesn’t want to see organisations quickly making the absolute minimum changes, and then sitting back in the knowledge that they have just met compliance requirements. Organisations should be striving for continual improvement in the privacy space.”

AMSRO is currently the only industry body seeking to register a non-mandatory Australian Privacy Principles (APP) Code. AMSRO’s Market and Social Research Privacy Code 2014 has now moved to public consultation as a draft code.

Developed in close consultation with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) over the past six months, once registered the code will operate in addition to the new Privacy Amendment Act.

The Market and Social Research Privacy Code 2014 is a customised version of the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) in the Privacy Act (1988).  It sets out how the APPs are to be applied and complied with by AMSRO members in relation to the collection, retention, use and disclosure of personal information about the subjects of and participants in market and social research.

AMSRO President Nicola Hepenstall said; “With the recent launch of our Australian-first Trustmark that ensures privacy, ethical and quality standards, it was important that we redeveloped our own industry code to reflect the new Privacy Act. AMSRO pioneered its own privacy code for members in 2003, which won an Australian Privacy Award in 2009.

“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 privacy breach demonstrates the success of AMSRO in protecting the industry and people who engage in market and social research.

“We have worked collaboratively with OAIC at every step during the development of the draft Code. The public consultation is the final step in having our code approved and ready to go.”

The main section of the 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 and disclosure of personal information about the subjects of and participants in market and social research.

The Code imposes some additional requirements including:

  • participation by research subjects in market and social research as carried out by AMSRO members is always voluntary
  • market and social researchers use and disclose the information collected only for research purposes.

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 examines complaints and other privacy matters and was instrumental in developing the new 2014 code.

A copy of the consultation draft is available at www.amsro.com…au. Interested parties can make submissions on the draft Code by Wednesday 30 April 2014. Submissions should be addressed to amsro@amsro.com.au