Protecting personal data, a real headache in Africa

According to the Bird-Bird report, only 23 of the 55 countries have adopted privacy regulations.

In other words, less than half have decided to put in place a legal framework for the regulation and protection of digital data.

This article will also interest you: The protection of personal data in Africa is a serious problem that could backfire on the continent

On the other hand, countries that have adopted this privacy regulation have limited themselves simply to the security and confidentiality of electronic communication data, while largely excluding other categories that may derive from personal data. Worse, in fact, there are only 7 countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Gabon, and Tunisia, which have an independent administrative authority to monitor and regulate everything that touches on so-called personal data.

To reformulate we see that the majority of African countries have not yet developed despite some advances in the use of ICT, a legislative framework that is safe enough to manage and protect the personal data of their country's users.

Even though a convention was adopted on 27 June 2014 on cybersecurity and personal data protection at an African Union convention in Malabo Equatorial Guinea, it will be noted that decisions taken and commitments are slow to enter into force in the legal order of the signatory countries. On 10 July 2018, at the end of the deadline for the signings of that convention, there were only 10 out of 55 countries that it had actually signed. These countries include Chad, Benin, Congo, the Comoros Islands, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Sao Tomé and Principe, and Zambia. Among them only Senegal and Mauritius have ratified it.

In view of the African continent's legal shortcomings in the digital sector, Merav Griguer, a specialist lawyer at Bird-Bird, said that all this "risks harming his long-term economic and security interests if left unresolved. it was recognized, and one thing that is very essential was that" it is an issue of national sovereignty. If a state leaks its citizens' data outside, it may eventually be used against it."

We are in the era of big data, and several specialists are coming to raise it. Data of any kind , (medical sexual religious banking, etc.) represents a goldmine for European and American firms. With intelligent and controlled exploitation of all the information that Africans let slip them without any control, it goes without saying that the backlash will be more than difficult because at the end, they will face economic control. A new form of colonization that will be born on the basis of new technologies.

Colonization of tastes, financial points, controlled habits, by advertising targeting and marketing purely developed on the basis of personal information generated on platforms that have fed at the source. This is also going for the elections. When we already know in Europe and the United States that it is commonplace to use social media databases to determine political preferences, we realize that this is much more obvious in Africa.

Oumarou Ag Mohamed Ibrahim Haidara, head of Mali's privacy authority, said: "To reconcile the protection of personal data with freedom of the press in our states where democratic culture is still under construction." One wonders how long it might take. Does Africa really have time?

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