Nigerians have been told to protect their personal data jealously in order to avoid such from fallen into wrong hands from where it may be used to commit crimes and other online atrocities.
This advice was given by the Chief Executive Officer of Data Services Protection Limited (DSPL), Mr. Tunde Balogun; a Federal Government licensed Data Protection Organisation (DPCO) in an interview recently.
Balogun, who is also the convener of the Association of Licensed Data Protection Compliance Organisations of Nigeria (ALDPCON), harped on the need for all public and private sectors to ensure that data in their possessions are secured, stated that the Federal Government of Nigeria is aware of the need to protect the data of Nigerians and so put facilities in place to ensure compliance with this directive.
According to him, the Federal Government through the National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) has been going about sensitising federal government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), state governments and the private sector on the need to comply with NDPR provisions.
Conscious of the concerns around privacy and protection of personal data and the grave consequences of leaving personal data processing unregulated, the NITDA in 2019 issued the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR).
Nigeria’s principal data protection legislation is the NDPR issued by the NITDA on 25 January 2019 pursuant to Section 32 of the NITDA Act 2007 as subsidiary legislation to the NITDA Act 2007.
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 pointed out that his company; one of about 70 licensed DPCOs in the country has been doing a yeoman’s job in this direction, adding that it is unfortunate that many Nigerians don’t understand the importance of the subject.
“The good thing is that some of our people are beginning to understand why data must be protected in all ramifications. A good example is the government of Oyo State where we are currently implementing data protection services for about eight ministries, departments and agencies as part of the first phase of the scheme.
“It is still going to all other ministries but we started with these eight MDAs because they handle more data than most other MDAs and it even goes beyond mere putting facilities in place to enforce compliance with data protection.
“This is where we are shoulder high than other DCOs. Many people think it is only about data auditing but it goes beyond that because we provide other deliverables. In our case, we do auditing, we train staffs, organise lectures, we ensure full privacy and arrange workshops to drive home the point,” he explained.
He stated that data collection is the most resourceful enterprise in the world and that most successful companies in the world are not in the Oil & Gas, Banking or insurance but in the collection of data.
He said this was why government is insisting on protection of data of Nigerians in both the public and private sectors of the country.
Balogun said protection of one’s is part of the larger layers of strategies being in place by governments all over the world to checkmate cybercrimes, which he said had attracted the concern of well-meaning human beings.
He added that it is a good thing that the government of Nigeria is keying into it since it is a global affair from which the country cannot afford to run away from.
He, therefore, enjoin all public, private sectors of the economy to put steps into place to make sure they protect data in their possession, adding that the government will soon begin enforcement of data protection, which he said would come with heavy penalties.