On 7 July 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted a follow-up webinar on privacy and data protection in Africa in the COVID-19 context. Privacy and data protection practitioners from Africa analysed the current status of data protection and privacy on the continent. In the responses to COVID-19, there is collection, sharing, storage and processing of personal information. This raises questions regarding Africa’s preparedness to the security, management and protection of personal information and safeguarding the right to privacy. The webinar assessed privacy and data protection approaches in the various responses to COVID-19.
Theme: COVID-19, privacy and data protection in Africa (Part 2)
Moderator: Ms Hlengiwe Dube
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
- Amanda Manyame
Tech Law and Policy Advisor, Endcode, South Africa
- Charlie Martial Ngounou
- Ridwan Oloyede CIPP/E, CIPM
Privacy and Data Protection lead, TechHive Advisory, Nigeria
This was a follow-up webinar on privacy and data protection in Africa in the COVID-19 context. On 23 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights hosted a webinar on data protection and privacy issues in Africa. Data protection authorities from South Africa, Senegal, Kenya and Morocco explored the status of privacy and data protection on the continent. The discussion also included privacy and protection of personal information in the context of COVID-19, and steps to guarantee the protection of individual privacy while aiming for the broader goal of protecting public health.
The discussion included:
- Data protection legislation
- Privacy and data protection dimensions of COVID-19 Response
- Collection, retention, and aggregation of personal data, including health data
- Digital surveillance technologies in responding to COVID-19
- Data sharing and data security
- Public-Private Partnerships
- Evaluating contact-tracing in Africa
The right to privacy is a fundamental right that is guaranteed in human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Although the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights does not contain the right to privacy, the momentum around privacy and data protection is steadily increasing. While constitutions across the continent provide for the right to privacy, most countries are yet to adopt enabling legislation on privacy and data protection. Continentally, the framework for the protection of personal data and cybersecurity is established in the Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection that the African Union adopted in 2014. The Convention is not yet in force as it has been ratified by only five states out of 15 ratifications that are required for it to be operative. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights recently adopted a revised Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa. The Declaration provides guidance on surveillance, privacy and protection of personal information (Principles 40 and 41). Sub-regional instruments include the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Model Law on Data Protection (2013); the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Supplementary Act A/SA.1/01/10 on Personal Data Protection Within ECOWAS (2010) and the East African Community Framework for Cyberlaws (2008).
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