Among the most in-demand and fastest growing professions, data scientists must remain abreast of advancements in technologies and techniques.

But these savvy professionals need to be concerned with more than just the latest updates in SQL, R, Python, SPSS, Tableau, and Hadoop. To be optimally successful, they must understand the entire landscape of business intelligence – from various data sources to the expectations of numerous corporate stakeholders.

With extensive connections within the largest brands and throughout research and analytics, the Insights Association provides the right people, conferences and resources to inform your work with data in valuable ways. From sourcing, processing, and storing it, to better communicate your findings through data visualization and storytelling.

We’re also here to provide needed standards and guidelines, guidance to comply with state, national and international data gathering and data transfer regulations, model client contracts, data privacy best practices, information security expertise and much more.

Following are just some of the areas in which we are a leader in advocacy:

International Digital Trade

A growing challenge for marketing research and analytics are data localization/nationalization laws, which directly or indirectly require U.S. companies to process and maintain data within a given foreign country, and laws like the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation, which attempt to force U.S. companies to adopt significantly more restrictive foreign data privacy laws. These types of laws often amount to digital protectionism. “Harmonization” of U.S. privacy regulation to a foreign standard may not make the most sense, as innovative data businesses generally develop and grow in the US, and America’s approach to data privacy may be a key factor in our competitive advantage. In response to the October 2016 demise of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor, which allowed for the legal transfer and processing of European Union citizens’ data across the Atlantic, the Insights Association opted to support the Privacy Shield. a replacement deal. The Insights Association advocates for trade deals that remove regulatory barriers to the international free flow of data.

Consumer Data Privacy

The Insights Association advocates for a data privacy regime hospitable to marketing research and analytics. A baseline national consumer privacy law makes sense as a long term goal, but for now, a continued privacy regime based at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), with their authority (under Section 5 of the FTC Act) to vigorously police unfair or deceptive acts or practices, is effective because it focuses on preventing and punishing tangible harms against consumers. Rather than rushing to regulate emerging technologies, tangible value has come from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) multistakeholder process approach. Applied to date to mobile apps, facial recognition and drones, a multistakeholder process can advance industry’s privacy best practices, with the NTIA playing an important role as an impartial coordinator. In various debates over data privacy, including online behavioral tracking, data brokers, Big Data, the Internet of Things, and broadband data privacy, the Insights Association tries to focus regulation on the purpose and use of consumer data, not its type or existence. Data collected, used and shared strictly for bona fide research (which involves data about individuals only for the purpose of understanding broader population segments and demographic groups) would benefit from a more lenient standard than other types of data.

Consumer Data Security

The U.S. needs a carefully crafted national standard for consumer data security and breach notification, instead of the current patchwork of state laws with conflicting data security standards and uneven procedures for notifying consumers in case of a security breach. Congress has considered numerous pieces of legislation on the topic in recent years, but concerns about policy and jurisdiction have prevented passage. A national data security law would ideally: be limited to cover only personal information that could be subject to criminal abuse (such as identity theft); avoid granting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) extraordinary rulemaking powers to expand that definition (as we ensured with amendments to the 2011 SAFE Data Act); provide an exemption for encrypted or de-identified data; preempt the conflicting patchwork of state data security laws; and prohibit private lawsuits. State laws and regulations should follow similar strictures.

Pharmaceutical Marketing Research with Doctors

Critics of pharmaceutical and medical device companies' payments to health care professionals have driven regulation requiring public reporting of any payments from such companies to doctors (and nurses). Some policymakers have gone as far as to try to ban payments altogether, and some explicitly include marketing research payments for participation in marketing research studies. Manufacturers generally do not conduct research in any state that requires reporting of (or bans) payments, unless marketing research incentives have been explicitly excluded. The Insights Association has succesfully excluded respondent incentives for blinded marketing research in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and in the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act. Since the passage of the Sunshine Act in 2010, states took a hiatus from pursuing new laws of this nature, until 2017. The Insights Association lobbies to exclude respondent incentives from any pending legislation and from existing state laws and regulations.

Class Action Lawsuit Reform

The marketing research and analytics industry faces an escalating threat of class action litigation, most prominently regarding the TCPA, as well as data privacy and data security concerns. Serial plaintiffs are preying on companies and making a mockery of the U.S. justice system. We support reform of class action litigation, such as the Fairness in Class Action Litigation and Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act (FICALA) (H.R. 985).