Child online protection and data privacy have become increasingly important issues in today’s digital age. The recent fine imposed on TikTok by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) highlights the need for stricter measures to protect children’s online privacy.
Nigeria is among the countries that should be interested in national data protection legislation as its current national data protection regulatory agency, the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), is inadequate in safeguarding citizens’ privacy. As previously emphasized, enacting national data protection legislation is crucial.
The TikTok fine by ICO is connected to child online protection and the need for national data protection legislation in Nigeria. The fine by ICO is a result of concerns raised about how the social media platform handles children’s data. The fine of £2.5 million ($3.5 million) was imposed on TikTok for violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The ICO found that TikTok failed to provide adequate protection to children’s personal data and allowed children under 13 years to use the platform, which violates the GDPR. This is a significant issue because children are vulnerable to exploitation, and their personal data can be used for malicious purposes. The TikTok fine highlights the need for more stringent measures to protect children’s online privacy.
Companies providing online services to children should prioritize data protection and ensure their platforms comply with privacy regulations. Although the NDPB was created to regulate data protection and privacy in Nigeria, there is a need for comprehensive data protection legislation.
Nigeria’s digital economy is growing rapidly, presenting new social and economic opportunities. However, the absence of adequate data protection legislation puts citizens’ personal data at risk. This environment is conducive to data breaches and cybercrime, which undermines trust in the digital economy.
Data Protection and Privacy cannot be overstated
Beyond slogans and theoretical lessons, how much practical attention do we pay to the protection of children online? The TikTok fine by ICO is a wakeup call that highlights the importance of child online protection and the need for stricter measures to protect children’s personal data.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, recently urged the Senate to approve the Nigerian Data Protection Bill that is currently before it. The existing national data protection regulatory agency is insufficient in safeguarding citizens’ privacy, and it is crucial to enact national data protection legislation if we want to sustainably expand the digital economy. As we continue to adopt digital technology, it is essential to learn from cases like the TikTok fine and ensure that data protection legislation evolves to keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape.
Author: Jide Awe
Science, Technology and Innovation policy advisor.
Find him on Twitter @jidaw