If you replace your partisan political hat with your research partisan hat, you may find interesting things to look forward to in President-elect Donald Trump’s Administration and a new Congress in 2017.

While we don’t yet know a lot about Trump’s positions on a lot of research-relevant policy issues, we know enough about his broad-brush attitudes (especially populism), his skepticism of regulation, and the interests of his transition staff, to predict both good and bad outcomes for the research industry’s public policy concerns.

The staff preparing the transition at (and who might be nominated to run) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – the two regulatory agencies with the greatest impact on the research industry -- favor self-regulation, free markets and a hands-off approach. The FCC’s new online data privacy rules will likely be repealed; the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulations that impede telephone research will be up for serious reform. Amidst the proliferation of emerging technology that defies easy classifi cation/control, like cross-device tracking and the Internet of Things, a more restrained FTC will likely drill down on protecting consumers from tangible privacy/security harms, not theoretical ones.

Predicting what a trade-skeptical White House will mean for our fight against foreign data localization laws and restrictions on cross-border data fl ows is difficult, but we are more concerned about the decennial Census and the American Community Survey (ACS). Combining the President-elect’s populist instincts with Census-skeptical House Republicans could imperil the Census and ACS data essential to producing any statistically valid research in the U.S.

-- Howard Fienberg, Director of Government Affairs — Marketing Research Association (Rebranding as the Insights Association in 2017)

(For a detailed look at what to expect in government affairs in 2017, see the members-only article "Election 2016: A Big Bang?")