Panel Discussion – Online Research in the Stranglehold of Data Protection Regulation?

Data protection has become a dominant topic in social and market research. Legal and semi-legal regulations such as corporate governance, data protection codices as well as an increased public awareness for data protection issues have created an environment which appears to hamper and even prohibit many fields of applied online research. As if this was not enough, the legal situation is highly heterogeneous between countries, industries and companies. Even within single countries‘ legal systems it is ambiguous and seemingly in a permanent shift. The pending introduction of aGeneral Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the recent suspension of the Safe Harbor Agreement contribute to a situation which evokes nightmares for many researchers – or will do so, as soon as they begin to think about these issues.
What is the legal status quo and what is coming next? How are panellists‘ data to be handled, and how can data be transferred between agencies and their clients? How can the increasing demand for data protection on the client side be fulfilled? And how are cookies, geographical tracking, social data or other new research techniques to be dealt with?
Experts from different areas – the agency side, the client side, the association side and from the legal profession – will discuss this topic. Moreover, they will hopefully outline options as to how great research can further be done in this environment without researchers having to fear legal trouble.

Discussion host

Prof. Horst Müller-Peters (, Germany)


Dr. Thomas Rodenhausen (President, Harris Interactive AG, Germany)
Andrea Schweizer (Lawyer, Kanzlei Prof. Schweizer, Germany)
Kim Leonard Smouter (Government Affairs Manager, ESOMAR, The Netherlands)

Session time

March 3, 2016 (2:00 – 3:30 p.m)

Further information and registration: GOR 16 (General Online Research)