Complaint OEN100007

Date created
Dec 13, 2017
Date completed
Feb 16, 2020
Region Complainant
Region Defendant

Article 1 Duty of care

  • Researchers must ensure that data subjects are not harmed as a direct result of their personal data being used for research.
  • Researchers must exercise special care when the nature of the research is sensitive or the circumstances under which the data was collected might cause a data subject to become upset or disturbed.
  • Researchers must remain mindful that research relies on public confidence in the integrity of research and the confidential treatment of the information provided for its success, and therefore must remain diligent in maintaining the distinction between research and non-research activities. *
  • If researchers engage in non-research activities, for example promotional or commercial activities directed at individual data subjects, they must clearly distinguish and separate those activities from research.
* As it is important that non-researchers also clearly distinguish research from commercial activities, attention is drawn to Article 9 of the consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice: “Marketing communications should not misrepresent their true commercial purpose. Hence a communication promoting the sale of a product should not be disguised as for example market research, consumer surveys, user-generated content, private blogs or independent reviews.”

Public Resolution

Feb 16, 2020

A complaint was received regarding an ESOMAR member sending unsolicited emails. The ESOMAR member was contacted and referred to the relevant sections of the Online Research Guideline on unsolicited approaches. The ESOMAR member reviewed the guidance and agreed to update his company policy and not send anymore unsolicited emails.