On Data Privacy Day, 28 January 2013, the Market Research Society launched a ‘Personal Data Mark’ intended to be used by private companies operating on the Internet to build trust with the general public in their data processing procedures.

In an effort to increase awareness and provide an easily identifiable symbol of trust for consumers, the mark, otherwise known as the ‘Fair Data Badge,’ will be available on companies’ websites to demonstrate their compliance with ethical, fair, and proper collection, use and retention of data subjects’ personal data.

Only organisations which agree to adhere to 10 core principles will be eligible to apply for the Fair Data Badge. Reflecting the Data Protection Principles as contained in the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC, the ‘Fair Data’ principles include provisions for consent to be obtained prior to collection, only using data collected for the purpose it was intended to be collected for, rights of access for data subjects, and efficient data security measures, amongst others.

Jane Frost, the Market Research Society’s CEO, demonstrated the importance of increasing transparency to consumers by declaring that “public concern [over online privacy] is at an all-time high.” The UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham also lauded the badge initiative “as a step in the right direction of getting users of public data to make such a public commitment to standards.”