Data Protection, Key To Sustainable Digital Economy – Olatunji

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L-R: The national commissioner, Nigeria Data Protection Bureau, Dr. Vincent Olatunji and the managing director, Nigerian Communications Satellite, Dr. Abimbola Alale when the former paid a courtesy call on the director in her office in Abuja.

The national commissioner (NC) of the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, has said that with the exponential rise in the processing of data online through satellite communications, appropriate mechanisms must be put in place to ensure adequate security, effective protection and regulated data processing in line with laid down legislations in Nigeria.

The national commissioner who made this assertion during a working visit to the managing director of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT), Dr. Abimbola Alale and her management team at the space agency’s headquarters in Abuja, noted that best practices that meet global standards in the protection of data must be adopted in satellite communications.

Olatunji said that with the redesign of the supervisory ministry to include digital economy and with the launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), relevant laws must be put in place to guarantee data protection.

“The NDEPS is the roadmap for the digitisation of the country and appropriate laws and regulations must be put in place to ensure the protection of data in line with global standards bearing in mind local and international regulations to safeguard data of citizens,” he stated.

While commending the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami for the giant stride he took in the issuance of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulations (NDPR), Olatunji disclosed that the industry is now worth over N4billion, with about 8000 people gainfully employed.

He added that the role of the bureau is to ensure that data of Nigerians, wherever they, are is adequately protected and to ensure that all organisations in Nigeria comply with the provisions of the NDPR. 

Olatunji further mentioned that the bureau was established to ensure the implementation of the NDPR to safeguard the rights, freedom and privacy of citizens as well as ensure that the country has principal legislation in that regard.     

The NDPB boss, however, noted that the bureau was not out for sanctions but to encourage organisations to comply with the provisions of the NDPR and make it a culture by default.

“We are out to create awareness on data protection for all data processors and data controllers to adopt and see as a norm so that the global community will see us as serious when it comes to issues of data privacy and protection,” he said.

While emphasising the importance of the awareness created by the bureau, he stated that data subjects need to know their rights in terms of consent, security, storage and cross border transfer of their data while, at the same time, enlightening data controllers on their obligations to data subjects.

“It is important that those in charge of data processing in organisations are sound enough to know what to do, how to do and the kind of measures they need to put in place in terms of organisational and technical measures to ensure the safety of data of their subjects,” he mentioned.

He further assured of the bureau’s support in terms of training, peer reviews and guidelines to NIGCOMSAT and urged them to comply with the provisions of the NDPR by annually filing their audit reports with NDPB.

In her remarks, Alale applauded the national commissioner and his team for their proactive initiatives in ensuring the security of data in the country.

Affirming her support to the bureau, Alale stated that NIGCOMSAT is already working on its data privacy audit report for the year which will be filed with the bureau and promised to share the guidelines with their partners who, in turn, can be independently monitored by the bureau.

“As we push forward the digital agenda of Nigeria, we should support one another. We at NIGCOMSAT pledge our support to you,” she said.

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