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March 14, 2022

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Good day , 

Ogheneruemu here, 

Today I'm discussing:

  • The latest development on the Nigerian data privacy front, and
  • Artificial Intelligence's role in racial bias
data-protection-key

A raid to end them all

Recall that in November 2021, we discussed six Nigerian agencies banding together to fight data privacy abuse by money lending fintechs


On Friday, March 10, 2022, the Federal Government of Nigeria stormed the offices of seven of these companies: GoCash, OKash, EasyCredit, Kashkash, Speedy Choice, Easy Moni, and Sokoloan.


Of the six agencies, the operation was led by the Federal Competition Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), collaborating with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICP), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and the Nigeria Police Force.


This comes after NITDA fined one of the affected companies, Sokoloan, in August 2021, for the same issue.


According to FCCPC's CEO, Babatunde Irukera, investigations began in 2020, and this raid is a culmination of that. 


On the criteria they used, he said, “The key two things that were subject of concern were what seems to be the naming and shaming violation of people’s privacy with respect to how these lenders recover their loans.


“Secondly, the interest rate seems to be a violation of the ethics on how lending is done. So, those were the two things that we set out to look for."

The adoption and implementation of data protection and privacy laws in Nigeria seem to be gaining momentum and is creating more awareness around it. Hopefully, more moves are made to protect citizens' privacy.

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artificial-intelligence-3382507__480

Fighting racially-biased technology

For my second trick, I'll be stringing together three words to make a story: Artificial Intelligence (AI), bias, race. Okay, let's make that four words. 


So, what's the big idea? Despite the supposed infallibility of AI, it relies on datasets it has been fed. Essentially, the technology is only as smart as the data it is given, at first at least. It is expected that it grows and learns. 


However, issues arise when the data contains some level of bias. This could take different forms, and for Africans or black people, it often results in discrimination or unrepresentative information.


Two weeks ago, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) launched the "first-ever" African Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (ARCAI) in the Republic of Congo.


The centre is located in the Denis Sassou-N'guesso University of Kintélé and offers a Masters of Science Degree in Artificial Intelligence and data science in collaboration with the university.


In 2019, Google launched an AI lab in Ghana, hoping to foster more African involvement in the development of AI and reduce bias. Also, in 2018, Data Science Nigeria created Nigeria's first AI hub.


Although not the first, the establishment of the ARCAI is a step in the right direction in solving the issue of racial abuse and AI.

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What you missed last week

What I’m listening to/reading/watching

Opportunities

  • Techpoint Africa is looking to hire a woman for the role of an associate VISUAL DESIGNER. This you? Send a pitch with your portfolio to careers@techpoint.africa.
  • Are you a woman in tech? Here are some internship opportunities for you: backend engineer intern, fullstack engineer intern, product manager intern, QA engineer intern and UI UX product.
  • The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize 2022. Get more information about it here
  • Get rewarded for gaining tech skills at the Microsoft Spring Skills Challenge. Details here
  • Heard about MTN Nigeria's Graduate Intern Scheme for Marketers? Check it out.
  • Identitypass is hiring. Check out available roles
  • OnePipe launches a writing challenge for Nigerian journalists. Three writers to win 1 million naira each. Apply here.
  • Pitch Friday continues next month! Register for the next session here
  • UN Women plans to select 60 trainees from 10 African countries for coding courses. Find the requirements and how to apply here
  • TeamApt has several job openings. Want in?
  • Paystack is hiring. Want to try out?
  • Applications are open for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa GNI Innovation Challenge. Learn more about the challenge and how to apply here.
Have a great week.

Ogheneruemu Oneyibo for Techpoint Africa.


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