Research Now

Research Now, the global on-line panel company and MRS Company Partner, was one of the first organisations to take part on the Fair Data initiative when it was established in 2013. Here, we talk to Ben Hogg, Managing Director EMEA – Portfolio Businesses, about his view of the Fair Data scheme and why he championed Research Now's participation.

What motivated you to become Fair Data accredited?
Respecting and protecting our members' personal data is integral to the way we operate at Research Now and always has been. When we were made aware that the MRS was launching an initiative that focussed on this, we were absolutely delighted, and jumped on board immediately. Our research panellists are at the heart of everything that we do, and as such we have a duty of care to protect their private information. Our panellists' trust in us is critical, and Fair Data accreditation is an excellent way of demonstrating our commitment to that.

What benefits has this Accreditation brought to your organisation?
It has been invaluable, not only as a mark of our commitment to data privacy, but also as validation from an independent third party that we are implementing the very best procedures. It endorses the fact that we are managing our members' data not only in a way that we feel is appropriate, but in a manner that is gold standard in our industry.

How did you find the Accreditation process?
As a Company Partner of the MRS, our accreditation process was relatively straight forward. We have a senior team member specifically responsible for Data Privacy and a comprehensive data protection policy. Both helped enormously, enabling our submission to be based on a checklist that was – and still is – used within Research Now to ensure we are not just complying with best practice, but leading the way.

Why do you think it is important that Research Now is a Fair Data accredited organisation?
Without our panellists, Research Now simply couldn't operate. So we are fully committed to building and maintaining our members' trust in us. We make sure that we protect their data at all times. Nothing could be more important to us. Accreditation validates that commitment in a very clear and very impactful way.

What advice do you have for other organisations who are thinking about becoming Fair Data Partners?
Personally, I am absolutely passionate about this issue. I sit on the Fair Data accreditation board and am delighted with the interest shown by other companies in the initiative. I would encourage any organisation involved in any form of data processing to take part as soon as possible.
For those that do not have a senior member of staff dedicated to data protection – or who are unsure how to proceed - the Fair Data Board and their auditing team are on hand to help at all stages.
Essentially, stop thinking and start acting. This really is something that you should not ignore. If anything, data protection and privacy will continue to be pushed to the fore of public awareness, and all of us should take this to heart. Data privacy regulation is the single biggest risk to any of us in the research industry. Ignore it at your peril!