Director General National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi has hinted that Data plays a critical role in a digital economy.
Abdullahi stated this while participating in an online US-Nigeria Digital Trade standards workshop organised by the US-Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
The event which had as theme: ‘Current state of Data privacy and security in Nigeria’ was one of the activities to mark the Data privacy week which commenced on Monday 25th of January 2021.
He noted that in a digital economy, data plays a huge role in everyday activities, as enormous amount of data is generated, collected and stored by all equipment which dominates human lives.
He gave an example of the various uses to which a seemingly innocuous gadget such as mobile phones are being put behind the scene.
On the subject of discourse, the DG examined it basically from three perspectives namely: what data protection is, how they differ and overlap, how both are affected by digitalization and finally, what government is doing to protect and strengthen the right to privacy and data protection.
“Data protection, contrary to popular belief, is not the same thing as privacy. Privacy is a broad concept referring to the condition which enables the basic foundation of human dignity, but data protection is more specific.
“It is concerned with the way a third party handles the information they hold about us, how it is collected, processed, shared, stored and used. In other words, privacy is the big picture and data protection is one corner of it,” Abdullahi said.
On the second perspective, the NITDA DG explained how digitalization is creating new ways to collect, access, analyse and use data across multiple borders and jurisdiction, with challenges to data privacy.
On what Nigerian government is doing to protect and strengthen privacy and data protection, the DG reminded the audience that the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) issued on 25th January 2019 was crafted to meet the global standard on data protection and provide unique and innovative implementation matrix.
“Part of the NDPR implementation strategy is sustained public awareness which was undertaken between May and October 2019. Indeed, Nigeria is the first country on the African Continent to dedicate a week to Data Protection Public Awareness.
“Other measures include Establishment of Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs), Data Breach Investigation Team and Police Enforcement Teams among others.
“In addition, the NDPR implementation framework has also succeeded in ensuring that within a year of coming on stream, a total of 635 data audit reports were filed by various entities across 13 sectors of the Nigerian economy, just as 15 investigations on alleged data breaches were undertaken while 2,686 jobs were created.
“A mark of Nigerian leadership in the digital world within the African continent explains why she currently sits as the vice-chair of the Policy and Regulatory Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA) and a full member of the Common Thread Network (CTN), A network of Commonwealth Nations Data Protection Authority,” Abdullahi said.
After the formal presentation, the DG took questions from the audience on various issues of the discourse with answers provided to the satisfaction of all the participants.