Fair Data standard to launch in bid to combat privacy worries

A NEW standard for companies’ use of personal data will be launched today amid increasing fears over privacy.

Organisations will now be able to sign up for Fair Data accreditation, a standard that it is hoped will have the same effect as the Fairtrade mark applied to consumer products such as coffee.

The Fair Data standard, applied by the Market Research Society (MRS), is backed by UK information commissioner Christopher Graham and global firms PwC and GlaxoSmithKline. Firms that want to sign up will be audited by the MRS and will have to sign up to a code of conduct.

The launch of the mark comes in the wake of increasing concern about data privacy regarding the likes of Facebook and Google, with web users often unsure about how much personal information they give away and how it is used.

Both web firms have been scrutinised by European regulators, and a band of MEPs are looking to introduce tougher curbs on data usage. London lawyers Olswang are representing individuals launching legal action against Google over alleged tracking of iPhone users’ web habits.

“If the public are to let their personal data be used then they need to know which organisations they can trust to use it properly,” Graham said.