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Data protection critical to market research, say experts

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Stakeholders at the Nigerian Marketing Research Association (NIMRA) Business Network, in Lagos, recently agreed that researchers do not own data collected, but must be protected.

Speaking at a conference, themed: ‘Future Success with Data Protection,’ the stakeholders noted that technology is changing the face of market research, which has led to the problem of data protection.

The speakers, Operations Director, Kantar Nigeria, Alexan Carriho; Associate Director, Anderson Tax Nigeria, Michael Ango; and ESOMAR Representative in Nigeria, Joe Ebhomenye, unanimously said data collected must be fully secured.

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Specifically, Ebhomenye, who spoke on, “You don’t own an individual’s Data,” noted that unauthorised persons must not have access to the data collected and data must be relevant to the subject matter. He added that the information collected must be treated fairly.

Similarly, Carriho, who spoke on, “Data Protection the Road Ahead for Market Research in Nigerian,” said everybody in an organisation must know about data protection, adding that respondents have some rights like the right to inform, right to correction, right to object, right to complain.

The new president, Oluwaseun Oyelaja, said, “Focus should be directed towards data collectors and data analyst, who have not got as much recognition as required in the market research industry for awhile now. We are at that point where we commence work to rearrange those tiles to have better recognition to us all as an association and thereby winning and securing the trust of all stakeholders in Data management.

“We have said amongst ourselves that we will love to see a NIMRA that is vibrant and visible in the country. However, there is a disconnect, which continues to keep us away. For us to make this right, I suggest a deep sense of collaboration that helps to quickly uncover hidden solutions we may not have as individuals working on a unique task. The era of having unique approach of solving solution to me can never be substantiated than a collective approach done in the right way.”

The CEO of CMRG, Lanre Fashaki, said diligence and surpassing clients’ expectation is important, noting, “You have to learn and adapt to global best practices, research is about using your creative ability to provide solutions; passion is also key. If you like the money as the effort, you may not do well; if you like the effort less than the money, you will not do well but if you like the job irrespective of what it gives you, definitely you will do well.”

Another panelist, Seun Ajayi, CEO of SBRC, said, “Researchers must know their onions and be good about it, trust is important, your data must be credible.”

CEO of MK & I, Yinka Aderoju, said integrity is important, as “Your client has to know you have integrity, though there are lots of temptation. Hard work is also important.”

Secretary-General of NIMRA, Paul Nwanobu, said: “We are in the data age with all its nuances. Market research is also witnessing a change of lifestyle in its methodologies. In January 2012, the European Commission set out plans for data protection reform across the European Union in order to make Europe ‘fit for the digital age’. Almost four years later, an agreement was reached on what that entails and how it will be enforced. One of the key components of the reform is the introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This new EU framework applies to organizations in all member-states and has implications for businesses and individuals across Europe and beyond.

“The types of data considered personal under the existing legislation include name, address, and photos. GDPR extends the definition of personal data so that something like an IP address can be personal data. It also includes sensitive personal data such as genetic data, and biometric data, which could be processed to uniquely identify an individual.”

In Nigeria, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), is statutorily mandated by the NITDA Act of 2007, to, inter alia, develop regulations for electronic governance and monitor the use of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication transactions as alternative to paper-based methods in government, commerce, education, the private and public sectors, labour, and other fields where the use of electronic communication may improve the exchange of data and information.

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