Is it possible under the IPPs for my agency to contact clients to conduct market research?
An agency may wish to survey clients for a number of purposes, for example, to test acceptance of proposed information products, to follow up on the impact of new initiatives, to assess client satisfaction with services, or for longitudinal research.
It is possible under the Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) to conduct these types of activities with current clients, and The Plain English Guidelines to the IPPs provide clear direction on when and how it is possible to use personal information for purposes other than that for which it was originally collected, and in what circumstances it can be disclosed to third parties e.g. if a project is outsourced to a market research company or call centre.
See Guideline 44 which provides examples of uses of personal information which may be considered as directly related to the purpose of collection, including:
- Uses for the purposes of monitoring, evaluation or managing a specific program; and
- Uses for the purpose of conducting follow-up surveys.
The Office has recently developed, in consultation with the Government PCO network, an information paper which contains suggestions on the most privacy enhancing way of doing client contact projects.