NEWS10 December 2010

Casro gives cautious backing to Rush data privacy bill


US— Research association Casro has voiced its support for the privacy bill drafted by congressman Bobby Rush, while calling for clarification on how certain points could affect market research.

Amendments that Casro has suggested include tightening the definition of “sensitive information” so that it does not cover basic demographic information – something the Marketing Research Association earlier warned could cause problems for research by requiring consent to collect information on things like income, ethnicity and religion.

Despite such concerns, Casro said the bill was “not cause for alarm” and called it “a solid step toward a much needed comprehensive federal privacy regime”.

The organisation said in a statement: “The Rush Bill would create the first overarching federal privacy regime in the United States, a framework sorely needed to eventually replace the patchwork of overlapping and inconsistent state and federal privacy laws with which research organisations must currently comply.”

The bill, which covers data security, aggregation and disclosure and choice about how information is used, is largely consistent with the existing requirements of Casro’s code of standards, US Safe Harbor principles and international data privacy and security laws, the organisation said.

It would, in effect “enact what most research businesses already do”, Casro said.

Casro said the bill, proposed in July by Bobby Rush (pictured), who chairs the subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection, would also bring the US into line with European Union law, helping to make international data transfer easier.