The Center for the Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD) identified rooms in the draft personal data protection (PDP) proclamation of Ethiopia and gave recommendations for revision before the law is adopted and enacted.
First introduced in 2020 by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MiNT) and later updated in 2021, the draft bill acknowledges the benefits of private data and rationalizes the need for its protection. However, the draft law exhibits gaps that need revision for the effective protection of personal data that it intends to realize.
CARD’s Position Paper on the bill notes these deficits are serious and they range from recitals in the preamble that fail to clearly state the importance of PDP and data security to provisions that define the mandate and power, as well as independence of the Data Protection Commission that is to be established based on the law.
It also calls for clarity regarding giving consent to data processors so that there is “no misunderstanding that the data subject has consented to the processing or storage of his/her personal data.” The draft also fails to institute cooperation mechanisms that establish means of ensuring global enforcement of the law, as well as protection of personal data controlled or processed in servers or data centers located in foreign countries.
CARD’s Position Paper on the draft law prepared in partnership with Internews’ Advocating for Data Accountability, Protection, and Transparency (ADAPT) Project which intends to make sure that the independence of the personal data protection commission is complete. The Position Paper takes lessons from laws of similar nature in other countries and recommends ways of addressing the gaps in the draft law that can enrich the bill before enactment.
Speaking on why CARD hugely invested in putting forward these recommendations, Befekadu Hailu, CARD’s Executive Director, stated that “Privacy rights are one of the fundamental human rights, and data manipulation is the worst threat to privacy rights in our age. CARD, as a human rights organization working to realize democratic culture in Ethiopia, is more concerned about how data collection and processing is regulated to balance the need for innovative use of technologies to ease life for modern societies as well as to protect their rights from abuse. A comprehensive personal data protection law is, therefore, urgent and needs to be formulated in a way that puts the rights of data subjects first in the complex digital age where corporations, governments, and other bodies collect, process, and interpret huge personal data.”CARDs-Position-Paper-on-the-Draft-Personal-Data-Protection-of-Ethiopia
The Center for the Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD) is a board-led, nonprofit organization registered in Ethiopia under the Civil Societies Law 1113/2019 with registry number 4307 on 24 July 2019. CARD aspires to see Ethiopia where democratic culture flourished on human rights values and has been working with a mission to empower citizens and groups of citizens to ensure their ability to promote and defend human rights and build democratic governance in Ethiopia.