A data protection expert, Mr. Tunde Balogun, has explained why there is global attention on data protection as one of the foundational reasons for fighting cybercrimes.
Data is asset and has become strategic to national wealth creation and economic with social sustainability, Balogun, stated in a recent interview he granted newsmen after delivering a training session for some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in Oyo State. Because data is an asset, it is the natural target of cybercriminals who pose high risks to individuals, corporate entities and governments all over the world, Nigeria inclusive.
He said various stories had been heard of cyber criminals who had hacked into many sensitive governmental and private individual accounts that had caused untold financial and emotional havoc to the victims of such heinous crimes.
Balogun, Chief Executive Officer of Data Services Protection Limited (DSPL), a government licensed Data Protection Compliance Organisation (DPCOs), said the government of Nigeria, like the rest of the world, is taking data protection seriously, and hence the licensing of DPCOs to enforce compliance with the directive to protect the data of Nigerians.
The Nigerian government through the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) issued the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) in 2019 as the principal data protection legislation for the country. It came into on 25 January 2019 pursuant to Section 32 of the NITDA Act 2007 as subsidiary legislation to the NITDA Act 2007.
The NDPR was issued as part of government’s efforts to address concerns around privacy and protection of personal data and the grave consequences of leaving personal data processing unregulated. DPCOs are licensed under the NDPR to provide professional services to organisations whether public or private in the area of data protection and monitor compliance to the NDPR.
Balogun, who is also the convener of the Association of Licensed Data Protection Compliance Organisations of Nigeria (ALDPCON), stated that it is unfortunate that many Nigerians only know that cybercrime is a dangerous crime but don’t know the things that are to be done to avert the possibility of falling prey.
The DSPL boss said it must be made clear that all agencies of government and the private sector must embrace data protection as enumerated by the government.
He also said that data coverage is an ongoing process, but that many people including some DPCOs think that it ends with data auditing.
Explaining further, Balogun said personal data like names, addresses, phone number are one’s personal data and that anybody in the possession of these must ensure they are not thrown about carelessly from where fraudsters could lay their hands on it.
He stated that the core area of their work is to make sure that organisations are not abusing people’s data by being careless with it.
He said Nigerians must be aware that their personal data are their personal properties and can only be given with their consents.
Balogun also explained that the process of data protection only started in Nigeria about two years ago and the National Information Development Agency (NITDA) has sensitised many ministries, states and the private sector on the need to protect data in their possessions.
According to the DSPL boss, the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is the only agency and the biggest collector of data since it has the mandate to register all Nigerians and that it has data protection already, but that any other agencies, states that store personal data must comply with data protection facilities.
He added that DSPL has embarked on sensitisation of Nigerians and that many lectures were delivered through zoom and virtual meetings in the last two years particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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