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Campaign for Personal Data Protection Act thickens, stakeholders task NASS

In line with rising adoption of digital platforms in virtually every human endevours, the African Academic Network on Internet Policy has called on the National Assembly to quicken action in the delivery of the Personal Data Protection framework or bill. Before now, most African countries including Nigeria do not have data protection laws at a time personal data access is going digital.

The group which met recently during a two day seminar/Colloquium at IITA, Ibadan agreed that “The use of personal data must be in accordance with the purpose for which it was collected, consent of the individual must be obtained prior to collecting his/her personal data; rights of the individual to seek legal remedies for misuse and or unauthorized access to his/her personal data must be guaranteed”.

The theme of the two day seminar was, ‘Privacy and Security: Building the Evidence Base and a multi-stakeholder action base for Personal Data Protection in Nigeria’.

Panelists revealed in unison, that there are five primary concerns around the collection of the use of personal data both online and offline in Nigeria.

The five key concerns cut across the use of personal data may be incompatible with the purpose for which it was collected; individuals have no rights in relation to the collection, use and storage of their personal information; Nigerians are not offered adequate opportunities to consent to or opt out of data collection.

The participants also agreed that there is limited to no transparency around the processing of personal data and there is limited information available around how this personal data is used and stored, leading to greater risk of a personal data breach; children are exposed to privacy risks online and often lack the legal capacity to give valid consent and may unknowingly disclose personal information to online platforms due to the appealing nature of their visual content.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Executive vice chairman of ISGPP, Dr. Tunji Olaopa noted that African continent is touted as fertile ground for Netpreneurs, Mobile institutions, increasing use of technology and leveraging the internet to address developmental challenges.

To him, with the exponential increase in the use of personal information by businesses in technology age, data protection has become such a defining compelling agenda for priority attention in many countries.

Head of Co-creation Hub Nigeria, Emmanuel Okochu, said that the biggest challenge in Data Protection in Nigeria is that most users do not have a detailed understanding of positive sides of data protection entails.

According to him, “The people you seek to protect are the ones who don’t understand why they should be protected. When you try to explain to people how dangerous it is to keep posting everything about them online”.

Participants came from several African nations including host Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, and Ghana.

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