In addition to a win at the Supreme Court on TCPA that should ease worries for the more telephone-hesitant insights pros, the Insights Association was tied up this month in state battles over comprehensive privacy legislation, defending marketing research access to DMV records in Texas, promoting legal defenses against data breaches in Connecticut, deterring push polls in Massachusetts, continued advocacy on California A.B. 2257, and helping to win new COVID-19-exposure liability limitations for businesses in Florida.

Telephone and TCPA

At the beginning of the month, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified the definition of an autodialer in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The case, in which the Insights Association had joined an amicus brief, potentially clears up decades of convoluted and conflicting rules and decisions from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and various courts that have tied legitimate actors, like marketing researchers, in knots and fueled a deluge of class action litigation for innocuous phone calls.

Consumer privacy and data security

  • Florida has been front and center in our state-level advocacy concerns for comprehensive data privacy legislation this month, as H.B. 969 added an expansive private right of action, IA joined with other data-drive industry groups to oppose such private litigation rights, and we weighed in separately as S.B. 1734 was tweaked even further. 
  • IA has also had our eye on a comprehensive bill in Arizona, modeled on pieces of GDPR and the Washington Privacy Act, that would be enforced by the Arizona Attorney General.
  • Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker argued in favor of a national privacy law, IA’s top priority (and one we are pursuing with Privacy for America). 
  • Texas is moving forward with more legislation to cut off access to driver and motor vehicle records in Texas for marketing research purposes. 
  • Finally, on the positive side, Connecticut is advancing a bill that would provide an affirmative defense against data security breach litigation if a breached company abides by certain data security standards, like ISO 27001

Push polls

Massachusetts H. 821 has been reintroduced. It would mimic the Insights Association's successful approach from New Hampshire to restrict so-called "push polling" (deceptive advocacy telephone calls masquerading as legitimate survey and opinion research).

Research Subjects = Independent Contractors

Connecticut is considering legislation that would grant employee-like rights, including unionization, to some independent contractors. While the bill covers a discrete range that should not impact the insights industry’s relationships with research subjects, we are keeping an eye on it.

In related news on the challenges posed by trying to treat independent contractors as employees, IA continued discussions with the original sponsor of California A.B. 2257, the law that calls for a minimum wage for research subjects, in hopes of a favorable resolution for the insights industry and our relationships with research subjects.

We are aided in this regard 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 have included: 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, and FUEL.

Please remember that, to ensure IA’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 to the membership, and donors of $2,500 or more will join our A.B. 2257 advocacy working group.

COVID-19

A new IA-endorsed law in Florida, S.B. 72, provides limited liability protections for COVID-19-related claims against companies and organizations making a good faith effort to comply with applicable public health guidance and government requirements. Such reforms are crucial to helping to get the insights industry back to work.

Your Membership in the Insights Association Matters

All of us at the Insights Association remain grateful for your continued membership and support -- it underpins our defense and advancement of the insights industry. Remember that IA revenues are plowed back in to support advocacy like we’ve discussed here, and other ventures in support of the industry.

We are always available to answer your questions on these and other legislative/regulatory/legal issues. May further prosperity for our industry be just around the corner!

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.