In September, the Insights Association has addressed: another comprehensive state privacy bill, a new facial recognition law in Baltimore, expansion of the FTC’s privacy role, and some international consumer privacy concerns; our fix to California A.B. 1561 which awaits signature into law; new requirements for COVID-19 vaccination for federal contractors/subcontractors' employees; and the rising legislative and regulatory assault against non-compete agreements in employment contracts.

Consumer Privacy & Data Security

At the state and local level:

  • Companies using facial recognition technology should take note of a new law that took effect in the city of Baltimore this month. It bans the use of “face surveillance” by both the city government and the private sector.
  • IA analyzed a voluminous comprehensive privacy bill in New York this month. The kick in the teeth, in addition to all the complex, compliance-resistant restrictions in this expansive legislation, is that it would be enforced not just by the state Attorney General, but also by punitive private lawsuits.
  • A bill in Massachusetts would require a bunch of insights companies and organizations to run impact assessments of “automated decision systems,” potentially including those involved in sampling. Violations would be punishable by hefty private lawsuits.

At the national level, Congress’ multi-trillion-dollar budget “reconciliation” bill would establish a new privacy bureau with a broad ambit within the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This provision is a simplified version of a similar provision within our Privacy for America legislative framework, which would authorize a new bureau at the FTC. However, the framework would tie that bureau’s mission to the specific new provisions created in a comprehensive federal privacy law. The House Energy & Commerce Committee debated the need for such a law before passing this section of the bill this month.

We’ve also cast our eyes abroad this month to:

Research Subjects = Independent Contractors

California A.B. 1561, legislation that would fix the 2020 Golden State law requiring prorated hourly minimum wages for California research subjects who receive incentives, has passed the state legislature and is awaiting the signature into law.

The bill, with language proposed and endorsed by the Insights Association, passed the full Senate on September 8, 2021. The Assembly concurred a day later, sending A.B. 1561 to the governor.

IA continues to be aided in this advocacy campaign by our A.B. 2257 advocacy working group: Material, Vital Findings, Quadrant Strategies, Full Circle Research, Branded Research, Precision Sample, MarketVision, Public Opinion Strategies, Dynata, Rybbon, Prodege, Schlesinger Group, Lucid, Nielsen, UserTesting and Forza Insights Group.

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, Connected Research and Consulting, and Joe Ottaviani.

Don’t forget that, to ensure the Insights Association’s best chances of success, we launched a separate round of fundraising and we still need 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.


On September 24, 2021, the Biden Administration issued guidance for federal contractors and subcontractors on compliance with an executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccination of federal contractors’ and subcontractors’ employees, and other workplace coronavirus-mitigation measures.

IA is also concerned about an impending emergency temporary standard from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that will apply to all companies with at least 100 employees.

Human Resources

A recent executive order from President Joe Biden touched on a bunch of competition issues, including tasking the FTC with combating noncompete agreements in private sector employment contracts.

Back in spring 2020, the Insights Association called upon employers throughout the insights industry to reconsider the utilization and enforcement of existing uncompensated non-competes due to involuntary terminations of employment. “Instead, organizations should devote time and resources on keeping employees satisfied and motivated to fulfill their potential within this growing industry,” IA said. The association also provided an overview of the legal situation for noncompete agreements.

That legal situation would change if recent Congressional legislation were to become law, since:

  • The Freedom to Compete Act would prevent employers from using non-compete agreements in many employment contracts; and
  • The Workforce Mobility Act would restrict most uses of noncompete agreements, punishing violations with private lawsuits.

Members Make Our Advocacy Hum

Your membership in (and support for) the Insights Association funds our defense and advancement of the insights industry, since IA revenues go to advocacy like we have discussed above, and other ventures that protect and promote the industry.

We are always available to answer your questions on these and other legislative/regulatory/legal issues.

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.