Does Data Protection Really Matter?
If you had to choose between joining a queue only once in your life to enable your access to every kind of service you require, and joining a queue every single time you needed a new service, there is little doubt that the first option would be the preferred. In the days of automated processing of personal data, , the first option is not far fetched. Indeed it is one of the propositions being offered by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Nigeria where people no longer have to provide personal data at every data collection point but using one card, your National insurance, tax, immigration, voter registration, banking solutions can be processed.
The proposition sounds ideal and very efficient. In truth, the NIMC is not the first to embark on a scheme like this. Telecommunication companies, service providers on the Internet continue to use personal data to strategically offer services to their customers whilst increasing their market opportunities. So personal data collection that is strategically used to maximise service satisfaction sounds like a win-win for all. Not until personal data protection comes into play.
In the same way that personal data can be used favourably, so also can personal data be misused and abused. With automation, the scale for potential (mis)use is on an exponentially larger scale. As we enjoy the benefits of mass data collection that alerts us when we log in to our systems from unfamiliar locations and devices, there must also be a call for legislative backing that prescribes and to some extent limits how personal data can be used. For example, nobody wants to be a victim of fraudulent scams or to be victimised as a result of uninhibited access to health care records; but in reality, data collection that is unregulated enables all forms of abuse and it would help to have a legal framework that deters such actions and respects people’s constitutional right to privacy. In your opinion, does personal data protection really matter? Why so?
Post contributed by Seember Nyager