Translating universal rights into local practices: Privacy, technology, and postcoloniality in Nigeria’s legal regime for data governance
Dr Samuel Singler, Olumide Babalola, Esq., MCIArb (UK)
This paper contributes to ongoing debates regarding the decolonization and Southernization of criminology, socio-legal studies, and privacy studies. We draw on theoretical contributions that have highlighted the complex postcolonial power dynamics through which universal legal norms are diffused globally and translated into Global South contexts. Empirically, the paper examines the impact of privacy rights norms and North-South technological diffusion upon the development of Nigeria’s emerging legal regime for data governance, and the impact of this emerging legal regime upon a rapidly digitizing field of practice in Nigeria: border control. The paper makes two key contributions. First, we contribute to postcolonial socio-legal studies by asking how lawmaking practices travel across borders, how Northern actors and norms influence Southern legal regimes, and how legal practices are transformed and translated by local political contexts in the Global South. We do so by analyzing important similarities and differences between Global North privacy rights norms and their Nigerian counterparts. Second, we contribute to the expanding literature on the role of new digital technologies in shaping law and criminal justice, by analyzing how considerations relating to privacy rights have shaped the expansion of digital borders in Nigeria.
Dr Samuel Singler, Departmental Lecturer, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford
Situated within the field of Border Criminology, Samuel’s research focuses on the effects of novel border security technologies on the global criminalization of migration. His empirical research on the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) capacity-building practices in Nigeria illuminates how and why security technologies diffuse across and through borders, how they shape contemporary ‘crimmigration’ policies, and how they are deployed and contested on the ground. He has also made theoretical contributions into the study of technology from a criminological perspective, by combining insights from the tradition of pragmatism with the theory of performativity. In 2023, Samuel will take up a new post as a Lecturer in Criminology at the Department of Sociology, University of Essex.
Olumide Babalola, Esq., MCIArb (UK), Lecturer and PhD Candidate, University of Portsmouth & Olumide Babalola LP, Nigeria
Olumide is a law lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom. He a consummate and passionate digital rights, privacy and data protection lawyer in Nigeria. He holds a Masters’ degree in International Commercial Law with ICT & Commerce from the University of Reading, United Kingdom and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom where he is conducting extensive research on the concept of privacy within the jurisprudence of Nigerian courts. He has published widely on law and data protection. Olumide’s pioneering litigious work around privacy and data protection has seen him litigate the subject up to the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Community Court of Justice (ECOWAS). In demonstrating his knowledge and expertise in data protection, he handled the first Court of Appeal decision on data protection in the case between Digital Rights Lawyers Initiative and National Identity Management Commission (2021) LPELR – 55623(CA) where the court extensively identified the nexus between data protection and right to privacy under the Nigerian Constitution – the case has become a focal point for all discussions on data protection within legal circles in Nigeria since September 2021.
Olumide is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, International Bar Association, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), International Network of Privacy Law Practitioners and Privacy Law Scholars Network, British Nigeria Law Forum, Internet Society, World Litigation Forum, and International Lawyers Assisting Workers (ILAW).