OPay, DHL, Meta may be fined if Nigeria’s data protection commission establishes wrongdoing in data violation investigation

OPay, Meta and DHL may be asked to pay 2% of their gross revenues in 2022 as fines if found guilty of data privacy violations according to Section 48 (5) of the Nigeria Data Protection Act of 2023. The National Commissioner of Nigeria’s Data Protection Commission (NDPC), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, told TechCabal that investigation notices had been sent to the three companies. 

While OPay is being investigated over claims that it opened accounts for people without their consent–the company has denied those claims–the details around Meta and DHL’s possible infractions are unclear. A highly placed source told TechCabal that customers complained that Meta was targeting them in behavioral advertising without their consent. “Protecting people’s information and giving them control over their data is a company priority,” said a spokesperson for Meta via email. “We offer a range of tools to help people manage their advertising and privacy preferences.” Meta also added that it is assisting the NPDC with its inquiry. [ad]

Per NDPC’s methods, data protection and privacy complaints from the public are investigated, with the companies involved allowed to provide background on the allegations and disprove any wrongdoing. “We have written to them and we are expecting them to give us the information we are looking for,” said Olatunji. “We cannot take any action without their cooperation as we need to conduct a thorough investigation into their activities.” 

After the NDPC completes an investigation and finds that a data controller or processor has violated provisions of the law, the data protection law recommends a range of actions. The affected companies may be required to pay compensation to data subjects, disclosing the profits it made from the violation. In the event of a fine, companies found guilty of violations may be fined a maximum amount of N10 million or 2% of its annual gross revenue in the preceding year, depending on whichever figure is greater. Given how steep the fines are, the three companies under investigation hope to be cleared in the findings. 

DHL did not respond to comments, and a spokesperson for OPay referred TechCabal to its earlier response refuting the claims that it opened customer accounts without their consent. 

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