Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica scan­dal: Why Nige­ria needs a data pro­tec­tion law

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Contents -


Across the globe, many countries, in­clud­ing China, South Africa and mem­ber states of the Euro­pean Union have taken steps in re­cent years to tighten the le­gal frame­work for the pro­tec­tion of data and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion within their re­spec­tive ju­ris­dic­tions. Quite glar­ingly, the Nige­rian Gov­ern­ment has taken very lit­tle steps towards im­ple­ment­ing a co­her­ent leg­is­la­tion on data pro­tec­tion. Our data pro­tec­tion frame­work con­sists largely of le­gal pro­vi­sions lit­tered across nu­mer­ous laws and reg­u­la­tions.

The re­cent scan­dal in­volv­ing the unau­tho­rized and uneth­i­cal ex­ploita­tion of data of Face­book users by Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica dur­ing the United States pres­i­den­tial elec­tion campaign in 2016 has once again brought to the fore is­sues of user pri­vacy and pro­tec­tion of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion across the global web com­mu­nity. Cit­i­zens of dif­fer­ent countries de­sire pro­tec­tion of their re­spec­tive gov­ern­ments against the vi­o­la­tion of their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion rights. Whilst the de­bate and dis­course rage on, no leg­isla­tive ac­tion has been taken in Nige­ria to ex­pe­dite the pro­mul­ga­tion of a na­tional frame­work for pro­tec­tion of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

This ar­ti­cle con­sid­ers the cur­rent state of data pro­tec­tion reg­u­la­tion in Nige­ria, high­lights some deficits within the cur­rent reg­u­la­tory frame­work and pro­poses leg­isla­tive ac­tion to tighten the reg­u­la­tory regime for the pro­tec­tion of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in the coun­try.

State of Data Pro­tec­tion in Nige­ria

Nige­ria does not cur­rently have a frame­work for the pro­tec­tion of in­for­ma­tion of per­sons whose per­sonal in­for­ma­tion is col­lected (Data Sub­jects). Though there are di­verse leg­is­la­tions that con­tain pri­vacy pro­tec­tion reg­u­la­tions, only very few have gen­eral ap­pli­ca­tion, with most of the reg­u­la­tions tar­geted at spe­cific sec­tors.

The few reg­u­la­tions, which have gen­eral ap­pli­ca­tion in­clude:

I. The NITDA Guide­lines on Data Pro­tec­tion

(2017). Is­sued by the Na­tional

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