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Expert calls for statutory code of practice on personal data

A data protection compliant expert has stressed the need to create a statutory code of practice for the use of personal data in order to guard against abuse of such data.

Consultant at NetHost Nigeria Limited, a license Data Protection Compliance Organisation, Dr. Abiola Abimbola, who emphasised this in one of his paper presentations titled: ‘Nigeria Data Protection Regulation Act 2019 Impacts Political Activities’, called on the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to rise to the needs of Nigerians in creating a statutory code of practice for the use of personal data in political activities.

He said political parties needed to work with NITDA, the government agency responsible for technology implementation and data protection, in order to improve the transparency around the use of personal data.

According to him, “If Political parties intend to provide personal data to third party organisations, such as social media platforms, for marketing purposes, they must make sure individuals are informed that their personal data will be processed in this way. They must also satisfy a lawful basis under the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation Act 2019.
The use of videos, posters, flyers, billboards that show individual faces should only be published if obtained lawfully and the individuals are aware of how their images or personal data will be used.”

Abimbola explained that the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) Act 2019 remained an important regulation that protects the security and privacy of personal data of Nigerians, adding that personal data within the regulation refers to any data that can identify a living person such as name, picture, video, email, address and others.

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“Political activities in Nigeria and other countries are geared towards winning an election in a state, region, or federation. There are many strategies used in winning an election but all are aimed at convincing a huge number of voters to vote for a candidate. A key aspect to the above strategy is about communicating the positive values of the candidate, pedigree, accomplishments, candidate’s plans if voted for and others.

“The platform for communicating is usually varied and includes posters, billboards, flyers, video, phone calls, news tabloid, emails, radio, Television and others.

“If any political party contact individuals or the masses to promote a political view or to otherwise influence them, this is considered direct marketing, which is also regulated by NDPR. Political parties are therefore under obligation of the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation to adhere to certain criteria,” Abimbola said.

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