Paradigm Initiative (PIN), in partnership with Global Partners Digital (GPD), Facebook, Internews, recently hosted a data protection workshop in Lagos State, Nigeria, with emphasis on urgent need to enact the enabling Law(s) by the National Assembly.
The workshop covered three sessions; an introduction to data protection facilitated by Khadijah El-Usman (PIN); Data protection from a global perspective by Ololade Shyllon (Facebook) and Data Protection Legislation in Nigeria by Adeboye Adegoke (PIN).
During the presentation, El-Usman described protection of data as aimed at educating participants on what personal data is and how often data is collected in Nigeria.
The presenter opined that the Nigerian government remains the biggest harvesters of data, following the many policies and agencies that collect biometric data from citizens.
From the Federal Road Safety Corps (for drivers licenses) to the National Youth Service Corp (for enrollment), the Central Bank of Nigeria (for Bank Verification Numbers [BVN]) and the National Immigration Service (for International Passports).
The session also highlighted the importance of such Bill that will assure the people of data protection and seek redress when there is a breach.
One of the sessions addressed what the existing legal framework is around data protection in Nigeria.
Discussion at this session explored how uncoordinated legislation is and how each data processing body has various data protection standards.
The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) is usually at the tip of the tongue when real issues come up in Nigeria. Although this fills a gap, it is not sufficient for what is necessary and most preferred.
The discussant also lamented that data protection policy implementation agency which is the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), is not independent of the government.
“Therefore when the government violates people’s right to privacy (as it relates to data), NITDA does not have the power to sanction the government – A case of “he who pays the piper…”
The session ended with the resource persons and attendees calling for the passing of the Bill into law with the hashtag #PassdataprotectionLaw.
As the world moves to the “Digital Age”, where technology and the internet surround daily living, governments seek to create unique digital identities for their citizenry. Merging unique identifiers to a person and putting them up on a database to help ease identification, security and access to services, many of which are biometric”.
In Nigeria, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has the mandate to manage the National Identity Database, register citizens and assign a Unique National Identification Number (NIN).
Although the process has been ongoing since 2007, the recent policy to link SIM cards to NIN under a pressing deadline brought the NIMC back to the forefront of national activities.
For this reason, Paradigm Initiative, in partnership with Omidyar Network, organized a Digital ID stakeholder engagement session allowing the public to interface with members of staff from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).
Discussions at this session explore issues around digital identity, data protection, digital inclusion, privacy and surveillance, digital security amongst others.
The Lagos event was a hybrid featuring people in-person and online and was chaired by Paradigm initiative’s Adeboye Adegoke, Senior Program Manager, Digital Rights.
The session helped to build trust between the people and NIMC. Allowing the people the chance to hold NIMC accountable in terms of how much information they gather and how they handle it.
Conversations at the session made it quite clear that people were interested in (data) protection and what is possible with their data.