Citizens are the best source of rich and meaningful data. But questionable data practices and zero-sum business models have been eroding consumers’ trust. In an attempt to protect themselves from such practices, citizens are likely to refuse to provide data or rather provide fake data if they are forced to.

In much of the world it’s become a fairly widely held view that models rely on ‘people as an asset’ — it  cannot continue. Regulation won’t allow for it. People won’t stand for it. In 2017, privacy and transparency are not only compliance requirements, they are pre-requisites for every organization.

We urge our industry to turn from a data-centered to a human-centered approach. If we think about it, it is just a matter before getting back to basics. A more balanced data environment, with more visibility and openness about data flows, can contribute to the increase of participants’ trust.

We may do well by putting the users in the center of their own data instead of the current Internet business model, where companies are in full control and make the most out of the data for their own gain. People we serve as customers need to be informed, empowered and capable of making choices.

These principles specially apply to the collection of behavioral data. Certainly, behavioral data is a wonderful and amazing addition to our lives. Nevertheless, it is obvious that when people generate thousands of data points every day they become more vulnerable to exposure in unimaginable ways.

We firmly believe that our responsibility as market research professionals is to always act according to the highest ethical standards. For decades, this has been the promise of our industry to society and it must be maintained in the future. In doing this, we will be building a more valuable, trustable and sustainable data industry.

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