Welcome to another edition of Privacy Notes!
I hope you are staying safe in these times.
If you are a TikTok fan or an avid user of the app, I have news for you. The President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, through an Executive Order has given an ultimatum of 45 days to US Companies to sever links with TikTok and WeChat. This stems from allegations and suspicions that the two social media platforms are being used by the Chinese government to monitor the activities of the citizens of the United States. Particularly, it is alleged that TikTok’s data collection is being used by China to track US government employees and gather Personal Data which may be used for blackmail and corporate espionage.
As at last year and the better part of 2020, the TikTok application was already under fire and was banned by the United States on government phones in different spheres including but not limited to the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Armed Forces, government agents in the White House as well as in the Pentagon. The app has also been banned in other areas of the world including India.
Relating this to Nigeria, the unauthorized collection of Personal Data if proved would be a serious breach of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) as well as the rights of the Data Subjects provided therein. Among other things, the NDPR provides for legal bases for which Personal Data may be processed. The Regulation further provides that a Data Subject has the right, among other things to be informed on what processing activities will be performed on his Personal Data. If it is established that TikTok is processing the Personal Data of its users without their consent or any other legal basis as provided for in the NDPR, such would amount to a breach of the regulations and expose the Data Controller, ByteDance (the owners of TikTok) to severe liabilities.
We hope that NITDA, the regulatory authority responsible for the enforcement of data protection in Nigeria investigates this issue and works alongside the Nigerian government to minimize if not totally eradicate any vulnerabilities that may arise.
Please tune in to our Privacy Notes: The Podcast to listen to some more issues surrounding privacy in Nigeria. Today, we will be talking about “Data Protection and the Law: Is the Law on your side?” and we will be featuring Olumide Babalola who is a Data Protection expert and the Managing Partner, Olumide Babalola LP.
Thank you for reading to this point.
Till next week,
Uwemedimo Atakpo Jnr.