This month, the Insights Association is dealing with new state privacy and data security laws, funding for the census, how insights offices can approach reopening as the pandemic ends, and a variety of other policy concerns, while helping to advance a fix to California A.B. 2257 through the state legislature.
Consumer privacy and data security
‘Tis the season for state legislatures ending deliberations, and bills getting signed into law, such as:
- A law broadening the restrictions in Nevada's requirements for privacy notices and the ability to opt out of the sale of consumer data for a lot of insights companies, who will be designated pejoratively as “data brokers”;
- A Connecticut law expanding the state’s data security breach notification requirements to cover more categories of personal information and reduce the timeframe granted to breached entities to notify consumers;
- A law in Texas requiring greater transparency to the state Attorney General and the public about private companies’ data security breaches; and
- Another new law in Texas curtailing some of the access to driver and motor vehicle records for market research purposes.
While the Insights Association has been helping to hold the proliferation of comprehensive state privacy laws at bay in 2021, another is unfortunately about to be signed into law in Colorado (modeled on Virginia’s new privacy law).
More legislation at the federal level has emerged, like:
- The Data Care Act, which would require insights providers and departments to “fulfill the duties of care, loyalty, and confidentiality” for consumer data online, a potentially subjective and vague set of requirements;
- The Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act, a bill that would dramatically expand the age-range and scope of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which currently restricts the collection of data on children under the age of 13, to also cover teenagers; and
- The Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act, legislation that would require significant data privacy, transparency and choice for users of certain public-facing online platforms.
However, none of them really meet the high standard set by the model federal legislation put forward by the organization IA helped to found, Privacy for America, which we are still pursuing on Capitol Hill, such as in tangibly combating discrimination.
Looking across the Atlantic, we welcomed new Standard Contractual Clauses from the European Commission for use in transferring data from the EU to the U.S. (and other countries that similarly provide, according to the EU, "inadequate" data protection). The model clauses come after the European Court of Justice struck down the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield agreement for data transfer in July 2020, similar to how it rejected the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor agreement in 2015. Interestingly, the court’s decision last year also called the Standard Contractual Clauses’ compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into question, prompting the new revisions.
The Insights Association also recently responded to a frequently asked question on how to verify a consumer’s identity under GDPR.
The Biden Administration released a belated budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2022, including a 30 percent increase in funding for the Census Bureau. While IA was cheered by the proposal, we continue to advocate for a significantly more generous appropriation for the Census Bureau, especially to dramatically expand the sample size of the crucial American Community Survey (ACS).
We also noted a recent think tank proposal to break up the Department of Commerce and merge statistical agencies.
Plenty of employers in the insights industry want to know how they should approach reopening their offices as the COVID-19 pandemic dissipates. What should a company expect/demand from its employees? What policies should an organization adopt relating to masking and social distancing, and how should vaccination be treated? Can a company require staff to travel?
Most businesses have complicated decisions to make, and the legal/compliance angle is only one side; cultural concerns and individual sensitivities may play a much greater role.
In response, the Insights Association released some post-COVID reopening considerations for the insights industry.
Research Subjects = Independent Contractors
Legislation containing an amendment to California law A.B. 2257 (the 2020 law requiring prorated hourly minimum wages for California research subjects) continues to advance. With language negotiated by the Insights Association, California A.B. 1561 would provide a favorable resolution for the insights industry and our relationships with research subjects. This bill passed the state assembly on May 27 and will receive a hearing in senate committee in July.
We continue to be aided in this campaign by our A.B. 2257 advocacy working group: MaterialPlus.io, Vital Findings, Quadrant Strategies, Full Circle Research, Branded Research, Precision Sample, MarketVision, Public Opinion Strategies, Dynata, Rybbon, Prodege, Schlesinger Group, Lucid, Nielsen and UserTesting.
Other donors supporting us include Rare Patient Voice, Olivetree Insights, Fifth Element Associates, Q-Catalytics, Veridata Insights, Clarion Research, Bauman Research & Consulting, WestGroup, Harmon Research Group, Global Market Research Group, Armature Group, Charter Oak Field Services, Information Specialists Group, SurveyHealthcare / InCrowd, Beall Group, FUEL, Voccii, and Joe Ottaviani.
Please remember that, to ensure the Insights Association’s best chances of success, we launched a separate round of fundraising that still needs your donations. All donors will be recognized in our updates, and donors of $2,500 or more will join our A.B. 2257 advocacy working group.
Across a variety of policy fronts:
- A new law in Louisiana requires pre-registration for exit pollsters;
- A district court case (Hufnus v. DONOTPAY, Inc.) could help clarify some outstanding Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) issues left after the Supreme Court's recent autodialer definition ruling;
- Guidance from Maryland explains the application of the recent 6 percent state sales and use tax on digital goods and services and what it means for the insights industry.
- New York nearly passed legislation that would introduce a restrictive and costly European standard for mergers and acquisitions and allow antitrust enforcement via punitive private lawsuits.
Insights Association Membership Makes a Difference
Everyone at the Insights Association is thankful for your continued membership and support -- it underpins our defense and advancement of the insights industry, since IA revenues support advocacy like we have discussed above, and other ventures in support of the industry.
We are always available to answer your questions on these and other legislative/regulatory/legal issues. As the temperatures in the northern hemisphere surge, may you stay cool and prosperous.
This information is not intended and should not be construed as or substituted for legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. It is advisable to consult with private counsel on the precise scope and interpretation of any laws/regulation/legislation and their impact on your particular business.