Privacy is particularly relevant for our digital, market research and direct marketing companies which collect data on consumers, or study lifestyles and purchasing habits, the better to target marketing campaigns.

As a minimum, our companies must comply with data protection laws and marketing codes of practice such as the UK Data Protection Act, the EU Data Protection Directive, the US Safe Harbor principles as certified by the US Department of Commerce, the ICC/ESOMAR International Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice, the US Direct Marketing Association Guidance and the UK Market Research Society Code of Conduct. Many companies have additional policies and procedures to safeguard privacy. Our digital agencies share information on privacy issues through the WPP Digital group and with others in our industry through organizations such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau, of which David Moore, chairman of 24/7 Real Media, is currently vice chairman.

In January 2009, Kantar Group created the role of chief privacy officer, to develop and implement a co-ordinated privacy and data protection policy across Kantar companies and work directly with clients on these issues. This is the first such appointment by a leading information, insight and consultancy business, and reflects the growing importance of privacy and data protection issues for our industry.