Data privacy: ‘Tinubu has mandated us to automate public service’ – NASS

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The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Information Communication Technology, ICT, and Cyber Security, Stanley Olajide, said President Bola Tinubu has given the National Assembly the mandate to automate public service in the country, including the services at the National Assembly.

He disclosed this at the Global Data Privacy Day organized by the National Data Protection Commission, NDPC, on Sunday in Abuja to commence the third National Data Privacy Week.

Olajide said: “Now that President Bola Tinubu is giving us the mandate to transform public services with technology, it means a lot more of the things we do in public service will be digitalized, a lot of the services that citizens consume in the coming months and years will also be digitalized.

“There may be dangers as well that, as we collect and share data, there is a need for us as government agencies to protect the data appropriately and NDPC will be able to provide that role while Galaxy Back Bone, GBB, will help manage the data exchange system and ensure that the exchange system follows the guidelines set out by NDPC,” he added.

The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, urged both public and private sector players to protect citizens’ data.

He said: “There is nothing we do without technology. A lot of gadgets we use today are interconnected, which means the data we are producing daily must be protected and the people producing it must be enlightened, but I think most important is the role of companies. As we build new digital products, we must ensure those products collect data and process the data in a way that does not compromise people’s privacy because it is extremely important.”

He urged relevant institutions to engage in an awareness campaign on the importance of data protection.

“There is a need to consider behavioral change and the implication of that is that both government and civil society organizations, the media must participate in the process of enlightening the citizens on data privacy,” he stated.

In his welcome address, the National Commissioner of the NDPC, Vincent Olatunji, said:

“In the area of complaints and investigations, we have received over 1, 000 complaints and after thorough reviews, 50 have been verified and investigations are currently ongoing on 17 major cases covering several sectors such as finance, technology, education, consulting, government, Logistics and gaming, among others. Through remedial actions for completed cases, we have generated over N400 million in revenue for the government.”

Speaking further, he said: “In addition, to foster compliance, we have increased the number of Data Protection Compliance Organisations from 103 to 163. As a result of this, annual audit filings have increased to over 2000 per annum, while the cumulative revenue in the sector is estimated at 6.2 billion and approximately 10,100 jobs have been created so far.”

According to him: “We must ensure that dark web barons and criminal exploiters of personal data do not make Nigeria a haven—for want of cooperation among bona fide data owners and data users. Failure to obey the law will attract penalties.”

He warned that in the future, “no organization in the public and private sectors will be allowed to treat Nigerians as second-class citizens when it comes to respect for the data privacy of citizens.”

He added: “It is, thus, in our collective interest to work together to secure Nigeria’s present and future on the frontiers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

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