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Meta, Opay, DHL Face Data Breach Investigation

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CEM REPORT, TECJNOLOGY | The Federal Government of Nigeria has stepped into the increasing outcry of citizens over data breaches by certain institutions in the country.

The Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) opened an investigation into global tech giants Meta, DHL, and online payment platform, OPay following a surge in complaints from Nigerians concerning potential data breaches.

Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner of NDPC, reiterated that any breaches of data protection laws would result in strict penalties in line with the Nigeria Data Protection Act of 2023.

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According to the commission, Meta will be investigated on allegations related to behavioural advertising conducted without explicit consent from data subjects. Reports indicate that approximately 40 million Facebook accounts in Nigeria may have been affected by the ongoing investigation.

The allegations against DHL centres around data processing practices that did not meet the confidentiality standards outlined in the Nigeria Data Protection Act. The company will also be investigated for allegedly violating the lawful basis and principles of data protection.

OPay, the online payment platform, is being accused of opening bank accounts for data subjects without their consent, a serious violation of data privacy rights affecting around 40 million individuals.

According to the Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023 48(5), if any of the companies are found guilty, they could face severe penalties, including forfeiting 2 per cent of their annual gross revenue to the government, and a two million naira (₦2,000,000) fine.

While Meta and DHL have not commented on the issue, Opay has responded by saying the accounts were created by the individual bearing the number at different times, in 2019/2020.

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Adekunle Adeyemi, head of marketing OPay Digital Services Limited, said in a statement stressed that its wallet could only be opened through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-established registration process which requires the input of an OTP (one-time password) authentication and ID authentication from the user’s phone to proceed.

Premium Times reports that the said accounts had no balance in them since they were opened.

“We then immediately commenced an investigation to determine the authenticity of these claims as all OPay wallets are adequately registered in line with regulatory requirements. Based on our investigation, we discovered that these accounts were indeed opened by the owners at different times, but generally between 2019/2020.

“It is imperative to note that some of these accounts have had no balance in them since they were opened. As a law-abiding strictly regulated entity, we have unequivocally inquired of these individuals if they would like to retain the accounts, and we obliged based on their responses.

“I would like to say that the OPay wallet can only be opened through the CBN-established registration process which requires the input of an OTP authentication (one-time password) and ID authentication from the user’s phone to proceed. It is also important to note that OPay has never created (nor does it operate) an account on behalf of any individual.”

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