Digital Rights and Freedom Bill 2016: The Hope for Better Protection of Online Rights?

Posted on Nov 26, 2017

By Adeniyi Duale, Ayodeji Sarumi

In the world today, digital platforms and access influence most aspects of our lives and work. From policy making and decision making that enjoys feedback from social media to business decisions made based on research conducted with the help of digital tools, to personal choices made by individuals because of information obtained from their social network, and even to the work of civil society actors that benefit from the huge reach and visibility that digital platforms provides, digital platforms have proved to be extremely useful, and the right to enjoy such freedoms that exist offline should also be available online.

With an Internet penetration rate of 46%, Nigeria has the largest number of Internet users in Africa, and the 7th largest in the world. The need for a law that governs, protects, administers and enforces the digital human rights is telling because as technology continues to shape and disrupt the current global landscape, certain measures and standards must be put in place to ensure the sanctity of each and every citizen’s rights more particularly online rights relating to digital freedom.

A little over a year ago the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill (HB. 490) passed the second reading in the Nigerian House of Representatives. The Bill is long titled “An Act to provide for the protection of human rights, to protect internet users in Nigeria from infringement of the fundamental freedoms and to guarantee application of human rights for users of digital platforms and/or digital media and for related matters”.

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