HomePublication“The Lady Sleeping With 50 Men Per Day” and TVC’s Unfair Privacy...

“The Lady Sleeping With 50 Men Per Day” and TVC’s Unfair Privacy Practices

Date:

By Olumide Babalola

On Saturday 16, December 2023, I saw a video clip where some journalists from TV Continental (TVC) interviewed a victim of sex trafficking in the UAE who narrated her ordeal while her traffickers profiteered away in the Emirates.

Whereas TVC ought to be commended for beaming another investigative light on the scourge that continues to destroy the lives of unsuspecting and vulnerable Nigerian girls under the pretext of labour migration, the unredacted projection of the victim’s facial identity falls short of the minimum standards expected of a media company posturing as an international outfit airing reportedly on Sky Broadcasting Group.

In the said interview, the poor lady recounts her forced daily sexual activities with numerous men for the economic benefit of her traffickers but her face was neither blurred nor concealed, hence the audience can see her identity without additional images. It is almost plausible that TVC obtained her consent before airing the interview but as far as the Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023 (NDPA) is concerned, the matter does not end there.

Sexual activities are sensitive personal data.

Under Nigerian law (section 65 of the NDPA), the definition of sensitive personal data includes ‘sex life.’ I have argued elsewhere that the inclusion of this nebulous term is potentially problematic considering its expansive meaning which embodies a person’s sexual activities and relationships.

Flowing from above, by the interview, TVC processes the ladies’ sensitive personal data, hence they are subject to certain obligations under the NDPA. Assuming TVC is relying on consent, not only must the consent be specific to the use of the video, but the victim can subsequently withdraw her consent, hence the clip must be immediately deleted from all their platforms accessible to the public. This underscores the tricky and erratic nature of consent as a lawful basis.

The victim’s identity was unfairly and unethically broadcasted.

On the lip service often paid to the principle of fairness in data protection, Clifford and Auslos could not have put it better when they noted that: “Fairness is a principle increasingly on the lips of the data protection community. From regulators to policymakers, industry, and academia, the requirement to process personal data ‘fairly’ is a standard bearer in data protection principle name-dropping.” (See Damian Clifford and Jef Ausloos, ‘Data Protection and the Role of Fairness’ Yearbook of European Law, Vol. 37, No. 1 (2018), pp. 130–187)

Despite the lack of definition of fairness, part of the objective of the principle is – the protection afforded data subjects from potential negative consequences arising from the processing of their personal data. Notwithstanding the victim’s consent – a legal basis which may not even pass the litmus test if properly scrutinized – TVC could have still passed their message by blurring her face while using voice-over to mask her voice as done by media outfits that value privacy and data protection.

Conclusively, it is my opinion that, since the contents of the lady’s interview are weighty and potentially damaging to her future pursuits and relationships, TVC should have been fair on her by blurring her face and masking her voice for de-identification.

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