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NDPC probes nine organisations for data regulation breaches

By Adeyemi Adepetun 
26 July 2023   |   4:25 am
The flagrant breaches of citizens’ data by business organisations have drawn the ire of the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), which said it is currently investigating about nine organisations in the education, insurance, telecoms and banking sectors.

National Commissioner of NDPB, Dr. Vincent Olatunji

• Operator says 5G will enhance customers’ data protection
The flagrant breaches of citizens’ data by business organisations have drawn the ire of the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), which said it is currently investigating about nine organisations in the education, insurance, telecoms and banking sectors.

The National Commissioner of NDPC, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, revealed this, during an interaction with newsmen in Lagos. Olatunji, who said some organisations have been sanctioned in the past and made to pay for damages, said NDPC would investigate data abuses without leaving any stone unturned.

He said monitoring has commenced deeply with the hope of informing the public of activities around data breaches.

According to him, to ensure adequate monitoring in this regard, banks, telecoms operators and other organisations that control Nigerians’ data must register with the Commission between now and December for data protection compliance monitoring.

The Commissioner said this is in line with the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Act, which mandates all data controllers and processors to get registered within six months of the enactment of the law.

He said the Commission was fully independent, stressing that it is still answerable to the FG. Olatunji said: “About independence when you consider section seven of our act, the commission must be independent.

“Since we started, the commission has not had any course to run to anyone. We have fined three major banks, and they will pay their fines. We are currently investigating about nine major organisations, an insurance firm, a school, and a consulting firm. We don’t work based on political affiliation.” He noted that the NDPC was currently working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on its social media know-you-customer (KYC) protocols.

According to him, after the regulation was announced, the commission wrote to the apex bank, which also applied. Olatunji noted that while the CBN was within its right to want to protect the financial system from data risks, it was currently discussing with the commission on next steps. He added: “We are working together to address the challenges of this regulation. We are getting results. The financial sector has a huge database.”

According to him, the task of securing the data of Nigerians was huge, but the new Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023 was up to the task.

MEANWHILE, telecommunications operator, 9mobile has restated its commitment to the protection of customer data, especially on its network. 9mobile made this assurance during the IOT West Africa Conference and Exhibition held in Lagos.

Speaking during the panel discussion titled: “Tapping on the 5G Technology and Infrastructure nerves in West Africa – Future of Telecoms,” Director of Strategy and Transformation, 9mobile, Karn Gulati, said one of the company’s top priorities is the security and privacy of its customers’ data as well as pioneering digital transformation.

He explained that 9mobile strictly complies with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) requirements, which mandates technology companies operating in Nigeria to store data within Nigeria. This ensures that all customer data remains within the country and is subject to local regulations.

Throwing light on how 9mobile does this, he said: “To combat cyber threats, we employ several measures such as conducting real-time attack simulations to identify any potential threats to our mobile network infrastructure. These simulations allow us to address vulnerabilities and mitigate risks proactively. Additionally, we provide remediation guidance to tackle existing threats in our network based on their priority levels. We also execute thorough inspection plans to maintain robust security protocols.”

He added: “As a customer-centric brand, our focus is on preemptively securing data and implementing stringent measures to safeguard against cyber-attacks. By taking proactive steps and leveraging advanced technologies, we ensure the utmost security and privacy for our customers’ data. By embracing technological advancements and prioritizing customer-centricity, we strive to deliver secure, accessible, and transformative services.”

Gulati also highlighted the immense potential of 5G technology and its opportunities for the region’s telecommunications industry. He further emphasised the potential of 5G to enable seamless connectivity, ultra-low latency, and massive device deployment, thereby driving innovation and unlocking new possibilities.

“The advent of 5G technology is a game-changer for the Internet of Things,” he stated. He informed participants how 9mobile drives digital transformation by prioritizing customer interfaces and providing digital platforms to improve accessibility and entertainment experiences.

“We are particularly focused on catering to the technology needs of the youth, aligning their internal operations with digital advancements, such as transitioning from 2G to 4G sites and plans to enter the 5G market. This customer-centric approach aims to transform our products and services while enhancing overall customer satisfaction,” he said.

He stressed the importance of collaboration among stakeholders, including telecom operators, policymakers, and industry players, to ensure a seamless and successful transition to 5G. He pointed out that “building a robust 5G infrastructure requires a collective effort. Collaboration among stakeholders is crucial in terms of regulatory frameworks and investments in network infrastructure. By working together, we can create an ecosystem that enables the full potential of 5G to be realised.”

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