Data-driven technologies have great potential to accelerate economic growth and social development. However, their application must respect fundamental rights, including privacy and data protection. People will only embrace digital innovations if they can trust that their data is processed legally, fairly, and transparently. Data protection regulations and supervisory authorities play a critical role in building trust, balancing interests at stake, and ensuring respect and protection of fundamental human rights.
With these concerns in mind, Kenya enacted the Data Protection Act (DPA) in 2019. The DPA is a comprehensive law that regulates the processing of personal data for every individual resident in the country. To ensure its implementation, Kenyan policymakers also established the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC).
Kenya’s DPA was inspired by the European Union’s General Data Protection Act (GDPR), which was adopted in 2016. An important reason is that the GDPR also applies to entities outside the European Economic Area (EEA) if they offer goods and services to data subjects in the EEA. Furthermore, regulatory convergence with EU data protection standards drives new opportunities for investment and trade relations with the EU, as it allows to benefit from the EU-Africa Partnership for Digital Transformation and diversified mechanisms for international data transfers under GDPR.
Several studies have confirmed the increased demand for, yet also lack of awareness regarding data protection in Kenya. Many Kenyan data controllers, data processors, as well as data subjects, do not know about both, the Kenyan DPA and the GDPR, as well as these regulations’ effects on their lives and businesses, or the entailed rights and obligations on data subjects’, controllers’, and processors’ sides.
In response to such demand, the AU-EU D4D Hub has launched a new podcast series called the “Data Protectors Podcast”. The podcast aims to enhance compliance by small businesses, data processors and collectors by raising awareness of how data protection laws affect their organisations and the data subjects from whom they collect data.
Produced by the Kenyan think tank KICTANET and the Digital Transformation Center (DTC) Kenya, in collaboration with the Nairobi Legal Hackers network, the Data Protectors Podcast brings together Kenyan and European experts to explore different aspects of data protection compliance, share lessons learned, and identify opportunities created with the enactment of the DPA and the GDPR.
The Data Protectors Podcast is also available on these platforms: