Nigeria’s Data Protection Commission (NDPC) has introduced a comprehensive Code of Conduct for data protection compliance organisations (DPCOs) as part of its upcoming 2024 enforcement initiative to bolster professionalism among its licensed service providers.
The move comes as part of the NDPC’s ongoing commitment to safeguard public trust in the digital economy.
Dr Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner, emphasised the significance of the DPCOs’ role in implementing the Nigeria Data Protection Act (NDPA) 2023 during a meeting with the commission. He underlined the Act’s potential to create jobs in the field of data processing and to ensure the lawful use of data.
The NDPA 2023, under section 33, empowers the Commission to license individuals with the necessary expertise to oversee, audit and report on compliance by data controllers and data processors. This innovative public-private partnership model aims to foster trust and confidence in Nigeria’s thriving digital economy, which like many worldwide, is increasingly dependent on data processing.
The Code of Conduct outlines a range of compliance services that DPCOs may provide, which include awareness and capacity building, data controller or processor registration, compliance schedule development and implementation, NDPA Compliance Audit and filing of Compliance Audit Returns, Data Privacy Impact Assessment, and facilitating and vetting Data Privacy Agreements.
To operate as a DPCO, firms must be licensed by the Commission and have a certified Data Protection Officer. Currently, 163 DPCOs hold licenses from the Commission as of November 2023.
While introducing the Code of Conduct, Babatunde Bamigboye, the Commission’s Head of Legal, Enforcement and Regulations, highlighted key principles such as privacy consciousness, capacity building, accountability, data ethics, and corporate social responsibility.
The NDPC will hold all DPCOs accountable in accordance with the provisions of the NDPA, the Code of Conduct, and future regulatory tools issued by the Commission.