This article is broken into two parts. In Part I, last week, we covered some realities about the increasing opportunities presented by the expansion of the digital landscape in Nigeria. This second part touches on a pathway that will create a more customer centric digital environment that will be beneficial to players.
- Tecno, Infinix,Samsung lead the Nigerian smartphone market in 2023
- SAF in Africa — Opportunities, risk of an emerging market
- Spain dominates as key destination for Nigerian exports in Q3
- AFC shows Africa’s carbon credit market solutions to climate crisis
- Cocoa boom spurs theft, rental Squeeze for Nigerian farmers
The Path Ahead
Looking ahead is imperative as the regulatory landscape races to meet technological advancement. There is the need therefore to build a strong privacy foundation to meet these digital trajectories. I propose some critical approaches below.
Enhanced regulatory framework: A public-private partnership
One area ripe for improvement is the establishment of a public-private partnership to steer privacy regulations. The government should collaborate with tech companies and civil societies to build a robust framework that is flexible enough to adapt to technological advancements. Countries like Singapore have successfully implemented this approach through organisations like the Personal Data Protection Commission, which engages both the public and private sectors in dialogue and policy formulation.
Data portability: Empowering the consumer
Data portability, a concept highlighted in the GDPR, allows consumers to take their data from one service provider to another. This not only empowers consumers but also fosters competition, as new entrants in the market can more easily attract customers. Nigeria could introduce legislation making data portability mandatory across key sectors like telecommunications, e-commerce, and healthcare.
Transparency reports: A necessity not a luxury
Companies in Nigeria should be mandated to publish annual transparency reports that detail data requests from the government or third parties. This practice is common in the United States, where tech giants like Google and Facebook regularly publish such reports. Transparency fosters trust and ensures accountability, both of which are essential in the context of privacy.
Cybersecurity insurance: Minimising financial risks
As businesses hold more data, they become attractive targets for cybercriminals. Companies should be encouraged or mandated to hold cybersecurity insurance as a part of their risk management strategy. This not only protects the business but also offers a safety net to consumers whose data could otherwise be compromised.
Consumer redress mechanisms: Swift and effective remedies
In cases of data breaches or misuse, consumers often have no clear course for redress. A centralised and streamlined system for reporting data malpractices and obtaining remediation should be implemented. A dedicated ombudsman or tribunal for data protection could be a solution here.
Digital literacy: Educating the next generation
Data privacy education should be integrated into the school curriculum, providing young Nigerians with the knowledge they need to navigate the digital world safely. A more informed citizenry is a fundamental long-term strategy for enhancing data protection.
Smart cities and IoT: Balancing progress and privacy
As Nigeria gears towards becoming a smart nation with projects like the Smart City Lagos initiative, considerations for privacy should be at the forefront. Clear guidelines on data collection and utilisation in public spaces enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) must be formulated.
Strengthening whistle-blower policies: Encouraging ethical disclosures
Incentivising whistle-blowers can encourage the internal reporting of data mishandling before they become public scandals. Strengthened whistle-blower protections can make employees more comfortable about reporting breaches, enabling companies to rectify issues before they escalate.
By incorporating these additional points, Nigeria can develop a multi-layered, effective privacy protection model that serves as a benchmark for other emerging markets. With a balanced approach, Nigeria can protect its citizens’ privacy while fostering a business environment ripe for innovation and growth.
business a.m. commits to publishing a diversity of views, opinions and comments. It, therefore, welcomes your reaction to this and any of our articles via email: firstname.lastname@example.org