FG raises awareness on data protection to curb cybercrime

The Federal Government has embarked on a campaign to raise awareness on data protection and also promote privacy and data protection practices.

Speaking on Tuesday at the International Privacy Day, the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, charged Nigerians to always protect their data while using the internet.

He said in response to the global call for privacy regulation the NITDA in 2019 issued the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR).

“The ultimate goal of this celebration is to raise awareness, promote privacy, and data protection practices. In Nigeria, we started this celebration since last week, Thursday, with a press release followed by debates by secondary school students culminating in the final round holding today,” DG NITDA said.

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He further noted that “28th January has been dedicated as international data privacy day. Last year, in 2019, the day was celebrated in nearly 50 countries, including the United States of America, India, Canada, and much more.

“The celebration started in 2007 after European Council declared 28th January as a Data Privacy Day in 2006. In Nigeria, we join the rest of the world to celebrate this year.”

He said after the introduction of the NDPR, NITDA had “Issued Twenty-Seven Data Protection Companies (DPCO) licenses that have created over 1000 jobs and generated a sector currently valued at about N2 billion.

“Inauguration and capacity building of the Data Breach Investigation Team and Police Enforcement Team. We have treated over 1,200 inquiries and requests for clarifications

“NITDA officials have made presentations in over 80 events where we have been invited. Training of Media Executives on Data Protection.”

He, therefore, advised that “on any new device, set your privacy settings immediately. This includes new applications, social media, and programs.

“Never use unsecured WiFi – especially for banking or shopping. Keep your software up to date. Out of date software is vulnerable to hackers.

“Never give personal information over the phone, email, or text. Use strong password phrases. The longer the password, the harder it is to break. Do not save your passwords on your device. Change passwords when your accounts may have been compromised. Use virus protection and a firewall.”

In his remarks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, said it was necessary for the government to assure its citizens that their data is protected so that they can embrace the digital economy.

“Looking at our population, it is the right time for Nigeria to drive a digital economy for a digital Nigeria. As the Honourable Minister of Communications & Digital Economy, I assure citizens that their data online will not be abused.

“Any Data under the control of Government or Private Individuals in Nigeria will not be abused under my watch as the Honourable Minister of Communications and the digital economy. We want Nigerians to patronise digital platforms for a digital Nigeria.

“Digital economy relies on data as such data protection is key to driving a digital economy for a digital Nigeria,” the minister said.

The theme of this year’s International Privacy Celebration is Data Privacy in a Digital Economy.

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