Insecurity: IT Expert Raises the Alarm over Nigeria’s Poor Data Mgt

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

A United Kingdom (UK)-based Information Technology (IT) expert, Mr. Davies Bamigboye, has raised the alarm over the ease at which data belonging to Nigerians are sold and harvested illegally.

The expert who stated this while speaking with journalists yesterday in Abuja, also blamed the failure of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in enforcing the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) for the brewing security crisis.

Bamigboye, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Conceptsworld Academy, UK, expressed concern that the lack of data protection laws in Nigeria had exposed Nigerians to grave risk.

While he hailed NITDA for taking a bold step in constituting the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) in January 2019, he added that agency had not done enough to publicise the law and communicate deadlines to all organisations across the nation.

Bamigboye stated, “Public and private institutions will continue to process Nigerian citizens’ data through third parties, especially where due diligence has not been undertaken, contractual clauses are not favourable to Nigerians, data loss prevention methods have not been verified, or where such information is transferred outside of Nigeria.

“Children’s data (pictures) for example, will continue to be used to support advertisements that aim to seek aids from foreign countries by NGOs. There is no reason to believe that such NGOs seek approval from Nigerian regulators before using these pictures.

“Even, if they (the NGO) had wanted to seek permission, there was no designated body in Nigeria, which could serve as the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) that such requests should be directed to.’’

The IT expert further stated that the current monitoring of Nigerians by other nations and large organisations will continue to go unchecked, saying multinationals possessing the location data of Nigerians gleaned from smartphones, laptops, iPad, smartwatches, smart TVs and other intelligent devices will continue to exploit this information for their own advantage to profile Nigerian’s citizens.

“The level of access that these organisations have means that the privacy rights of Nigerians are at risk. It means that information in the hands of private companies can be used to identify where an individual Nigerian is, where they have been, who they have been in contact with, and who was situated around them. This has a major impact on the privacy and security of Nigerians.

“The risk of selling of Nigerian Citizens data for nefarious activities will continue – especially as it pertains to children for sex-trafficking etc. This decimates the future of our country.

“Not enforcing the NDPR means that legitimate organisations and criminal gangs can continue to target Nigeria with the sole purpose of trawling up information that could be used in a criminal or discriminatory manner’’, he added.

Bamigboye stressed that the Buhari administration can pride itself in the history of Nigeria as being the administration that facilitated this trillion-dollar industry.

According to him, with roles such as Data Protection Officers, Privacy SMEs, Data Auditors, Data Analysts, Cyber Security Professionals expected to be in demand if NITDA can turn the regulation into mainstream national requirement, adding that Nigeria is bound to increase its GDP earnings from this nascent industry.