Some African nations now looking into the activities of Cambridge Analytica
Many African countries, Nigeria inclusive do not have data laws to protect internet users and protect the privacy of individuals.
Unlike in Europe and other western countries where data privacy law accords the users some level of protection on their information, it’s a different case in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. It’s probably that there are deeper problems that the citizenry could be bothered with. Many Africans have little or no recourse on data breach matters because legal backings and regulatory measures do not exist.
Kenya and Nigeria are countries with a growing population of internet users; still, there’s no such law in place to protect the privacy of users. According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, recent revelations about the British owned firm suggest that the African continent may be slightly affected. Cambridge Analytica was consulted to work on the 2013 and 20117 campaigns of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. The same company was hired to run the re-election bid of the former president in Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan.
Kenya’s ruling party, Jubilee party admitted to Reuters that the consulting had a hand in the campaign as it was hired to rebrand the party ahead of the presidential election. It didn’t give detail on its involvement. A spokesman from Nigeria said it would probe Cambridge Analytica’s participation in the 2007 and 2015 elections.
Broadband expansion and availability of less costly phones have aided the growth of the internet, and without doubt, this presents a prospect for internet companies like Google and Facebook which currently records about 123 million monthly users of the platform.
There are no privacy campaigners in Africa except in South Africa where the government passed a data protection law in 2013 unlike in Europe and other Western countries. The privacy campaigners think that the absence of a data protection law leaves a lot of internet users little or no protection.
The hard core truth is that internet fraud is a common menace in parts of Africa like Nigeria for example but many of them are less bothered about privacy matters and how their data is shared. There have been many reports of hacking in the past months, but nothing has been done. Every internet user bears the consequences of how they use their data and what sites they access-legitimate or fraudulent.
The countries are contending with more severe issues are general insecurity, financial instability, and poverty, just to mention a few. So it’s not really out of place for the internet users to campaign for policies that would protect their privacy. In Kenya where there are over 8 million Facebook monthly subscribers, the government says it is in the process of drafting a data protection bill.
The data protection bill that was introduced in 2010 in Nigeria is still making is still waiting for attention in the parliament or, perhaps, it’s long been forgotten.
Data privacy groups think that many African governments are lackadaisical about introducing the protection law because they use the citizens’ data for their gains- for either political campaigns or spreading false news to discredit an opposing party.