In the 21st century, with the advent of the internet, it is no doubt that data is the new goldmine. It has brought about the fast and easy dispensation of personal information or data. With an estimated 2.96 billion social media users worldwide, social media is the greatest tool for easy and speedy dispensation of personal information around the world.
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Personal data, as defined in the Nigerian regulation, is said to include name, address, pictures, email address, bank details, or medical information, and in this day and time, this information is found effortlessly online. These data can be used to exploit and harm users when it is being put in the wrong hands, so it is very important that data use is being regulated. The power must continually reside in the hands of the data owner, unless they desire their data to be released to the public. They should also be able to withdraw data at a given time.
Nigeria as a case study has had its own fair share of data privacy breaches. Reference can be made to loan sharks and companies who violate Data privacy by contacting data subjects who have no connection to loans, only to request for repayment on the basis that the debtor has their number saved.
In essence, it is important that companies and persons in Nigeria know the laws governing Data Privacy and Protection in Nigeria and the scope of rights, duties and responsibilities available to them.
Laws and regulations that govern data privacy in Nigeria
- The Constitution
Section 37 of Nigeria’s 1999 constitution protects the right of Nigerians to privacy, with respect to their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications. The Constitution is the grand norm of Nigeria, and all other laws are subject to it.
- The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019
The NDPR is the major law that addresses data privacy and protection in Nigeria. The regulation was issued by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in 2019, to comprehensively regulate and control the use of data in Nigeria. It contains a penalty for non-compliance with the regulation.
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The NCC Consumer Code of Practice Regulation 2007
Regulation 35 requires all licensees to take reasonable steps to protect the information of their customers against improper or accidental disclosures. It states that licensees shall not transfer this information to a third party, except consent is gotten from the owner of the data, or it is permissible in other laws.
The NCC Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulation 2011
Regulations 9 and 10 deal with the data privacy and protection of subscribers. It provides for the confidentiality of the personal information of subscribers stored in the central database or a licensee’s database.
The Freedom of Information Act 2011
Section 14 protects personal data and prohibits the disclosure of information, which contains personal information by public institutions, except consent is gotten or where the information is publicly available.
The Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015
The act criminalizes data privacy breaches. Generally, this Act prohibits, prevents and punishes cybercrimes in Nigeria. It prescribes that anyone or service provider in possession of any person’s personal data shall take appropriate measures to safeguard such data.
Cases and precedents are an important source of law in Nigeria. Although, there are few cases on data privacy, as this aspect of the law is still budding, research has revealed these cases, emphasizing the importance of data security and penalty to breaches.
These and many more are precautions in Nigeria set to introduce protective measures to the citizens of Nigeria, and the more knowledge and awareness is created, the more they can be enforced.
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