NEWS3 April 2019

ARF creates member code of conduct

Data analytics GDPR News North America Privacy

US – Industry association the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) has developed its first member code of conduct on ethical research and data collection.

Code of standards and ethics checklist_crop

The code outlines general responsibilities for member companies and sector-specific principles for research and data collection.

ARF members include agencies, marketers, media companies, academics and consultants.

The organisation plans to enforce the code through a self-regulating programme called the ‘Chain of Trust’, which will enable members who commit to the principles to display an ARF code logo.

Where possible, members will also agree to use suppliers, agencies and adtech third parties who have committed to the code’s values.

The code’s sector-specific principles are that:

  • Members should support and/or conduct custom or shared research to determine whether consumers understand the member’s terms of service and data privacy policy
  • Members should state when and how they used automated decision or artificial intelligence systems and provide a clear and easy opt-out ability from this
  • Researchers provide consumers with an easy way to withdraw consent for the collection and use of their data and that members not make any attempts to influence the accuracy of syndicated media research or syndicated sales or consumer data
  • Members using location data for research should identify on their website what sources of data are used and provide those targeted with the ability to opt-out of future contacts.

Scott McDonald, chief executive and president of the ARF, said: “For an ecosystem such as ours built upon research, data and analytics, the need to ensure that all are conducting themselves in an ethical and responsible manner, based upon agreed guidelines of behaviour, is not only morally correct, it is good business.”

The ARF has built upon existing legislation, regulation and codes including GDPR, CCPA, COPPA and HIPAA. The code reinforces Digital Advertising Alliance guidelines on data privacy, the Neuromarketing Science and Business Association code for the application of neuroscience in business, and ESOMAR and Insights Association codes of standards and ethics for market research and data analytics.