Africa’s Voices takes data protection and privacy seriously, and works to comply with the UK Data Protection Act 1998. The foundation of our data protection policy is respect for participants who share their opinions with us, and sensitivity to their personal information.
Our key considerations are:
- Transparency. In media forums, we include clear messages that inform audience members about who we are, why we are collecting their opinions and demographics, and how this data will be used.
- Consent. We explain that by volunteering to participate in the discussion, audience members are providing consent to their SMS data being collected and analysed. We take particular care that consent is given when data is sensitive in nature, for example if it includes people’s political opinions or medical information.
Handling of data
We anonymise, store and destroy securely
We assess the threats and vulnerabilities of each project based upon the media channel, technology and software being used. After a thorough assessment, we develop tailored risk reduction strategies and guidelines.
For all projects, we anonymise data and remove personal identifiers (name, telephone number, address, etc.) at the earliest stage possible. Once the dataset is anonymised, it is no longer subject to data protection legislation.
We transfer and store data securely, and protect it with encrypted passwords where possible to ensure only authorised access. Data is not kept for longer than is necessary for the purposes of the project and destroyed after this time.
Ensuring compliance of partners
Guidelines and responsibilities
From the outset of each project, we develop a contract with organisations to make explicit data protection issues, guidelines and responsibilities. At this point, we identify the exact purposes of the data so that this information can be clearly communicated to potential participants.
We also ensure high standards of data protection are practised by our media partners, such as radio and TV stations. To support this, we provide training to journalists so that they understand their responsibilities in collecting and handling data, as well as monitoring the project as it is delivered.
Africa’s Voices stays up-to-date with data protection legislation, continuously refining our policy and practices accordingly.