Research and services privacy statement

General

Thomas More believes that the protection of your privacy is extremely important. We want to inform you as best we can, respect your privacy and give you control over what happens to your personal data (hereinafter referred to as ‘data’). Below is information about the data we collect for research, why we do it, how long we keep it, what your rights are and how you can exercise them.
Thomas More is a university of applied sciences that processes data and carries out various scientific, applied research projects. Thomas More often collaborates with other institutions and/or companies for these research projects.
Your data will only be processed for the purposes of these projects. If the results of the research you participated in are reported or published, your anonymity will be assured. We always guarantee that the data can never be traced back to an identifiable natural person, unless you give your express permission for this.
The data we have is processed according to the applicable regulations, in particular the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Thomas More may amend this privacy statement from time to time. We therefore invite you to always consult the latest version of this statement.

Responsible for processing

The party responsible for the processing the personal data, known as the controller, is: VZW Thomas More Mechelen-Antwerpen, with its registered office at Zandpoortvest 60, 2800 Mechelen, enterprise number 0455.411.733.
or
VZW Thomas More Kempen, with its registered office at Kleinhoefstraat 4, 2440 Geel, enterprise number 0409.667.028.
‘Thomas More’ means the full operational cooperation between as well as the operational unification of VZW Thomas More Mechelen-Antwerp and VZW Thomas More Kempen, universities of applied sciences in Flanders. Both of these non-profit making associations apply identical privacy regulations.

Participating in our projects

Your participation in a research project, such as being a respondent in a survey, participating in a users test, interview or focus group, is without obligation and voluntary. You are entitled to withdraw from the project atany time and your data will then be deleted.
A research panel is a contact list for sending out invitations for other research projects. If you give your permission to include your data in a research panel, you have the right to decide each time you are asked to participate in a research project whether or not you want to participate.
As a participant in a survey or a research panel, you give researchers associated with Thomas More the right to process the personal data you have shared for research purposes. The term ‘processing’ is broad and covers, among other things, collecting, recording, organising, storing, updating, modifying, retrieving, consulting, using, distributing for research purposes, merging, combining, archiving, erasing or eventually destroying that data. You can read about which data it concerns under point 'What data may we process?'.
You also agree that all results of the research project will become the property of Thomas More or the party that commissioned the research so that your input and test results can be used most effectively for our projects.

On what grounds do we process personal data?

Research is usually conducted in the public interest, i.e. it leads to an increase in knowledge and understanding that benefits society (directly or indirectly).
In most cases, however, we will process your data on the basis of your consent (informed consent). You are always free to refuse or withdraw your consent. The consent will always be a basis for the research for which no general interest can be invoked.
In addition, we process data because we are legally obliged to process your personal data. Furthermore, some of the processing falls under the legitimate interest of Thomas More. Examples are fighting fraud and direct marketing.
Hereby it is always considered whether your interest in protecting your privacy and your rights in relation to your personal data does not outweigh the interest of Thomas More.

What data may we process?

A. Data from research projects

As a participant in a project, we collect and process the following information about you:

  • Data that you give us in the context of research activities. This could be given by telephone, in writing, orally (for instance data from an interview or focus group) or electronically (for instance when you fill out an online survey).
  • Data collected by our systems (for instance, an IP address for online surveys), or in some cases also data that we obtain from others (for instance, through research partners or customers who already have data about you).
  • Sound, video and/or image recordings of yourself in the context of our projects.

B. Data for a research panel

If we have your permission for your participation in a research panel, we will process your contact details, i.e. your name and first name, e-mail address, landline number or mobile phone number. We also process certain background characteristics, such as gender, postal code and year of birth, which are relevant to drawing the sample of participants for future research.
For example, we may decide to only select participants from a specific region.

What do we use your data for?

We process personal data for research purposes, whereby we only process the data that is necessary to achieve the intended purpose. Data is reported at an anonymous and aggregated level, for instance, the analysis of average scores of a group of participants in answer to a given question. We expressly ask your permission if we want to deviate from this.
We process data to inform you, if applicable, about the results of the study you participated in.
We process data to send you an incentive, if applicable.
We process the data from the research panel to send you invitations for followup research or for participation in other research projects.

Who will have access to your data?

  • Thomas More researchers who are involved in a research project or research projects for which the data has been collected.
  • Organisations and companies with which we collaborate within research projects, if this is the case you will always be clearly and transparently informed about this. The transfer of your data is for research purposes only and is restricted to the data that they need to carry out the research.
  • The central administrators of the research panel who are in charge of inviting participation in a new research project If Thomas More gives personal data to third parties in other situations, this will be done with an explicit request for permission, and we will provide information about the third party, the nature of the data to be transferred, and the purposes of the transfer and processing.

We use anonymised and aggregated data when reporting research results.
This data cannot be traced back to a specific natural person, unless you give your express permission.

How do we protect your personal data?

The number of researchers who have access to your personal data is restricted. Researchers have access to your personal data only to the extent that they need this information to perform their tasks properly.
Thomas More has also appointed a data protection officer who advises us on the privacy regulations and who checks whether Thomas More complies with these regulations.
We use technical measures to protect your personal data against unauthorised access, unauthorised use and loss or theft of your data; these measures include passwords, firewalls, antivirus software, encryption, etc.

How long do we keep your data?

We do not keep personal data for longer than is necessary to achieve the goal for which we collected it. The retention period may differ depending on the purpose, and can sometimes be very short. Personal data is deleted or anonymised after the applicable retention period(s) have expired. Data via the research panel is stored until the person concerned unsubscribes.

What are your privacy rights and how can you exercise them?

You can specifically ask us for access to the personal data collected by us in our files so that you can view it, have it corrected or removed from our files. You can stop your participation at any time, without having to give reasons for this, by withdrawing your permission. You can do so by sending an e-mail to privacy@thomasmore.be. We will handle your request within one month. If we cannot do so within one month, we will explain why we need more time.

How can I contact Thomas More?

For more information about this privacy statement or for complaints concerning the processing of your personal data, you can contact the Thomas More data protection officer via privacy@thomasmore.be.

Escalation to the supervisory authority

For complaints concerning Thomas More’s processing of your data, you can contact the Belgian Data Protection Authority.