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Nigeria lukewarm on IPv6 migration as experts canvass more sensitisation

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Migration from Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) to six (IPv6) appears lukewarm in Nigeria, according to experts.

The experts, who gathered at the 2018 Nigeria DigitalSENSE forum on Internet Governance for Development and Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable, in Lagos, submitted that to avoid friction and possibly boost digital inclusion in the country, more awareness of the importance of migrating to IPv6 should be at the front burner.

They urged the Federal Government to lead the campaign for IPv6 transition in the country.

According to them, this can be achieved if government encourages the importation and usage of IPV6 compatible device as majority of the devices connected to the Internet today are not compatible.

Although, the modern version of IPv6 is steadily taking Internet space among service providers, Nigeria has recorded the lowest IP block utilisation of 0.76 per cent, which implies that IPV4 is still very much in use, according to them.

Chairman, IPV6 Council Nigeria, Muhammed Rudman, said Africa has five per cent Internet usage with 0.3 per cent use of the IP address space, which is still very low, compared to other countries despite its proliferation.

He noted that the upgrade from IPV4 to IPV6 is long overdue, because the latter uses 128-bit addresses and is capable of 340 undecillion addresses, that is, 340 times 10 to the 36th power, or 340 trillion trillion trillion possible IP addresses more than IPV4.

Rudman added that the new IP system was built with security in mind, adding: “it encrypts traffic, checks packet integrity to provide VPN-like protection for standard Internet traffic, scalability and configuration.

“ISP discovered that we are not using up to the allocated space because many are still at the beginner level of Internet usage. If we get more people to use the Internet, more space would be captured with time. Out of 120 networks, only 50 applied for IPV6 and six got it, while only five networks are using it,” he added.

Rudman said IPV6 upstream service providers, technical know-how and system compatibility are insufficient.

On online data protection, Managing Director, Paradigm Initiative, Gbenga Sesan, has charged the government to emulate the European Union (EU) by signing the Digital Rights Freedom Bill (DRFB) into law.

Represented by Tope Ogundipe, a member of Paradigm Initiative, he said the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) has been enacted to protect data of members and firms under them with stringent penalty for violating the law.

He noted that although, companies will spend more to keep information from internal hackers, the bill if enacted will increase Internet trust and credibility of technology firms in data information management.

“The GDPR gives individuals the privilege to manage their personal online information and deciding who is given access to it. Although, it applies to only EU countries and development areas, tech firms in Nigeria that have any business with EU members are also affected. If we don’t have the right regulatory environment, abuse of data will continue,” he added.

Stressing that there is no comprehensive legislative framework for data collection and management in Nigeria, Sesan said Paradigm Initiative has been on the drive for four years and hope that the bill gets the President assent soon.

“The Bill has passed the House of Representative and Senate already, it remains the president consent. In Africa, only 14 countries have data projection, while nine of them have agencies implementing them but Nigeria has none,” he noted.

On the way forward, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) President, Destiny Amana, said more sensitisation should be done on Internet usage to inform people on profitable Internet usage.

He said it is a collective responsibility to maximize the potentials in ICT, and added that service providers should also be enlightened; government should provide profit incentives to encourage Tier 2 to move up Tier 1.

“Technology developers and end user should understand the ERGP law to avoid prosecution and ensure compliance. The youths should be careful of information they make public on the internet, do relevant research that enhances understanding of the technology,” Amana added.


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