Introduction

It is no longer news that the world is currently battling the deadly coronavirus that has brought it to a standstill for months now. However, what you might find new and interesting is the correlation between the pandemic and Data Protection Compliance or even data in the first place.

With COVID-19 and the daily progress in artificial intelligence, indeed, the wave of a new normal is quickly sweeping across all areas of human life include. Every aspect is being touched, including data protection compliance. This article will show you how in subsequent paragraphs.

Data Protection Compliance in COVID-19 Times.
DigiLaw Media

Data and Data Protection

This is the gospel; data is everything, and everything is data. To be scientifically accurate, data has been defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as information, especially facts or numbers collected to be examined and considered and used to help decision making. Or information in an electronic form that can be stored and used by a computer. This definition affirms the multifaceted nature of data, it is vast, tangible and intangible, and it also points out its importance.

Data has been described as the oil of the digital era. It is so vital in this age that it needs to be protected, especially by the shields and swords of the law. Thus data protection and cybersecurity refer to the umbrella name of methods and processes employed to ensure the safety of available data. The underlying principle of the concept of data protection is to empower owners of data against unauthorized or undesirable use of their data.

Framework for Data Protection and Data Protection Compliance  

According to GDPR, Data Protection compliance refers to the need to comply with legal requirements regarding data processes.  Since data protection became a buzzword, regulatory frameworks have been developed all over the world to cater to this field.

To jealously secure its aims, most notorious amongst these regulatory frameworks, is the General Data Protection Regulation, commonly referred to as the GDPR. This regulation applies to all EU state members and has an extraterritorial effect.

In Nigeria, data protection is governed by the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation, which carefully draws a distinction between the data controller and data subjects and also emphasizes the importance of consent in data mining and usage.

Data and Covid-19

We all have been washing our hands and staying at home for the longest time now. But the European Data Protection Board opined on the 20th of March, that modern problem requires modern solutions, and one of humanity’s best bet against the deadly coronavirus is data.

Indeed, most countries of the world have employed data analytics solutions as a way to combat the coronavirus effectively. However, most of these solutions tilt towards the mining of sensitive private data, such as location, contact, surveillance, even health data in some cases.

For instance, some Asian countries, such as South Korea and China, now actively monitor the movement of their citizens through the use of CCTV and drones. In Israel, the ministry of health launched “the shield,” an app that serves the purpose of contact tracing.

The United States of America has also approached tech giants in the country to determine how technology can be helpful in this fight. Network providers in most countries, especially in Europe, are giving out customers data to the government as their quota towards defeating the virus.

While the legality of most of these acts by the governments of the nations of the world is still in question and their perpetration is hinged solely on the argument of their “necessity,” the effectiveness of these acts can not be swept under the carpet just quickly. So, the fate of data protection compliance and a  possible normalization of everything data protection compliance stands against in a post-COVID-19 world remains a source of concern.

Data Protection compliance issues

Hinged on the status  quo, certain data protection issues are likely to arise in a post covid-19 world, some of which include;

  • Authoritarianism; While it’s presently commendable that the government is collecting citizen’s data, a lot of important questions can not be left unanswered; how much data is being collected? What will happen to these data after the virus has been defeated? Will measures put in place now countries? These are justified fears, especially in countries that are notorious for human rights violations, that these data will be used indiscriminately and inappropriately in the future.
  • Unethical private use: There is also the possibility of these data being used by private tech companies for monetary gains,

Conclusion:

Conclusively it should be resounded that the objective of data protection and its compliance shouldn’t be sacrificed on the table of public interest. A balance should be aimed and achieved by data collectors and controllers, during and after the pandemic. Regulations put in place should be strictly adhered to while dealing with data.

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