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Protecting the Privacy of Data in Nigeria

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What is Data Privacy?

Data privacy deals with proper handling of data, how data in a computer system can be shared. Data privacy concerns exists whenever personally identifiable information or any sensitive information is collected, stored, used and finally destroyed.

Is there Data Privacy in Nigeria?

Data privacy has become a huge concern for the citizens of Nigeria who understands what data privacy is about. Although some citizens are still ignorant about data privacy, it is a discussion that the average Nigeria should be having already.

The section 37 of constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria says “The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and the telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected”

The famous Cambridge analytical bridge was said to have swiped over 50 million data of Facebook users including Nigerians. Little wonder why the topic of discussion in Nigeria was “the political aspect “of the bridge. Why isn’t the Nigerian government talking about the citizens data that were exploited?

The only report I see everywhere on the internet is how Nigeria was going to” probe alleged Cambridge Analytica involvement in elections”

“HELLO NIGERIA” Did you not see the part of “Facebook users”, which means our data as a citizen of Nigeria has being compromised.” Data was improperly accessed.

In Nigeria, the data of the citizens are not properly handled. You register for a conference and the next thing, a company is sending you an email or calling your phone number to market its goods and services. Where is the privacy of data?

Some couple of months back, there was an outcry on twitter by some serving corps members on the use of their email addresses by politicians for campaigns. It was a lot of message coming in and it was a cause for worry to corps members. The big question was “How did they get their email addresses”

Some organizations workers think they can pick up your number and call you just because “they have seen a fine girl” and they have access to your phone number.

There are no laws or policies specifically dedicated to data and privacy protection in Nigeria. It is time for the Nigerian government to have a comprehensive data protection regulation law.

Laws Guiding Data Protection in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the protection of Data is are guided by different laws. This includes-

  • Section 37 of the 1999 constitution which provides for the right to privacy.
  • Cybercrimes Act 2015 which provides for the retention and preservation of traffic data and subscriber information by service providers for a period of 2 years.
  • National Information Technology Development Agency Guidelines, is responsible for planning, developing and promoting the use of information technology in Nigeria
  • The freedom of information Act,2011 responsible for making public records and information held by government agencies more freely accessible to the public. The ‘FOI Act’ which seeks to protect personal privacy, provides in Section 14, that a public institution is obliged to deny an application for information that contains personal information unless the individual involved consents to the disclosure, or where such information is publicly available.
  • CONSUMER CODE OF PRACTICE REGULATIONS 2007.The NCC Regulations provides that all licensees must take reasonable steps to protect customer’s information against “improper or accidental disclosure” and must ensure that such information is securely stored. It also provides that customer’s information must “not be transferred to any party except as otherwise permitted or required by other applicable laws or regulations “. Unfortunately, this code of practice applies only in the Nigerian communications industry.

Are Organizations Doing Enough to Protect User Data?

NO! Organizations are not doing enough to protect our data. In Nigeria where business/organization websites that requests for personal data are not Secured, vulnerable to SQL injections and other vulnerabilities that helps access users data.

This has made it easy for attackers to have access to personal information of the users.

If you have visited the dark web, you will find information of a particular National Association body on there. A thousand of information of some Nigeria citizens are out there.

With no regulation in check, Data privacy will continue to be a myth a Nigeria.

Update!

Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency has released the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation(NDPR). Read more here

 

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