The Nigerian Data Protection Law
The oxford dictionary defines data protection as legal control over access to and use of data stored in computers.
Giving our computerized generation today, data security is fundamental.
Data protection is the process of protecting sensitive data such as prevention from identity theft, safeguard of privacy, safe from loss and every unauthorised access.
In a bid to protect data in Nigeria, as a result of the increasing rate of data usage in the country, the government passed the new law “Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NITDA)2019”. This contains principles that all Government and its agencies, organisations, company and businesses must uphold in order to protect a person’s personal data. This is inclusive of anybody in Nigeria or abroad who is a citizen of Nigeria.
Personal Data in Nigeria may be collected for the following reasons;
- Scientific, historical research or statistical purposes.
- To archive(store)
- Public interest.
- Reasons that don’t affect the dignity of a human person
The Law charges the data collector with the responsibility of protecting the data collected by protecting it for harm such as data theft and such person would be responsible for any wrongful action done with another’s data while in their possession. A data collector is also prohibited from transferring such data to a third party.
In spite of the above, data can be legally collected and processed in any of the following ways;
- Where the third party has given consent to use the personal data.
- For the performance of a contract where the third party is a party.
- In compliance with legal obligations
- To protect the vital interest of the third party.
- For public interest.
The Data subject must be aware of the specific reason for which the data is being collected and it must not be collected through fraud, coercion and undue influence.
What is the effect of the Data protection law?
The law strictly prohibits any one whether a corporate organisation or non-governmental organisation from transferring a person’s data, whether it’s their staff on or not to a third party except the data is processed or used in line with any of the above or unless it involves any of the exceptions. Selling of another person’s personal data or transferring of another person’s data without permission is illegal.
The law also strongly condemns the use of personal Data for illicit activities or for something that is against the dignity of human persons.
It provides that data should be used cautiously and personal data privacy secured against attacks such as data theft.
The consequences of the breach of data privacy rights by this regulation is;
(a) Where the data company or person is dealing with over 10, 000 data, they shall pay a fine of 2% of Annual Gross Revenue of the next year or the sum of N10, 000, 000 (Ten Million Naira) whichever is greater.
(b) Where the data company or person is dealing with less than10, 000 data, they shall pay a fine of 1% of Annual Gross Revenue of the next year or the sum of N2, 000, 000 (Two Million Naira) whichever is greater.
This is exclusive of any criminal action that might be brought against them.
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