Data Privacy Day: NITDA assures Nigerians of digitized economy

By Na'ankwat Dariem and Mercy Gana.

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has assured Nigerians of the agency’s commitment to the Nigerian project of digitizing the nation’s economy with the implementation of a National Data Protection Regulation, leading to the creation of a sector worth Two Billion Naira.

The Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, disclosed this in Abuja during the commemoration of Data Privacy Day, an international event that occurs yearly on 28th January. Its purpose is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices.

According to him, “Issuance of twenty-seven Data Protection Companies (DPCO) licences have created over 1,000 jobs and generated a sector currently valued at about N2 billion.

The Director-General assured, “At NITDA, we are committed to ensuring that the Nigerian journey to the digital nation and implementation of Digital Economy policy are successful.

“We believe that the digital economy is the present and the future for our children and us.

“Our regulatory instrument, NDPR, was issued to achieve the following objectives: data privacy protection, secure exchange of data, improve business environment, and create sustainable jobs.”

Guest speaker of the day, Mr. Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, said the Internet has reached a pivotal point, where some level of regulation is required to ensure the stability, integrity and survivability of the platform.

“There are fine lines between suitable legislation, regulation, censorship and abuse of digital rights.

“…The fundamentals behind the failures and challenges of technology are human failings and frailties – greed, lies, incompetence, ego, and now the new political aspects such as state funded cyber-actors, extremism and terrorist motivated hackers.

“Violations of privacy and privacy rights have been with us throughout human history. Today technology has facilitated unprecedented violations of privacy and privacy rights with significant societal impact and damage.

“NDPR envisages three critical groups whose capacities must be developed: Data Subjects (you and I) who are the ultimate ‘owners’ of foundational data; data controllers like CBN, NIMC and FRSC, who determine the purpose for which the data is being used; and data processors like enrolment organizations and Galaxy Backbone, who obtains records or otherwise holds or transmits the information or data on behalf of the data controller not forgetting the occasional overlaps in some cases.

“Nigerians need to engage, through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, in national conversations to outline a future National Digital Data Policy and related data legislation that understands where we are coming from, factors in our circumstances and appreciates where we seek to go, while learning from earlier efforts to pass requisite legislation,” he said.

Amaka E. Nliam

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