Data plays critical role in digital economy – DG NITDA

 Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, DG NITDA

Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) has declared that Data plays a critical role in a digital economy.

Abdullahi, dropped this hint while participating in an on-line US-Nigeria Digital Trade standards workshop organised by the US-Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) with the theme: ‘Current state of Data privacy and security in Nigeria’ which is one of the activities to mark the just concluded Data privacy week.

According to the DG NITDA, 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 our lives.

He cited example of the various uses to which a seemingly innocuous gadget such as our mobile phones is being put behind the scene.

He scrutinized the subject of discourse basically from three perspectives namely; what is data protection, how they differ and overlap how both are affected by digitalization and finally, what government is doing to protect and strengthen right to privacy and data protection.

Firstly, he said that Data protection, contrary to popular belief, is not the same thing as privacy adding that privacy is a broad concept referring to the condition which enables basic foundation of human dignity, but data protection is more specific.

According to him, it is concerned with the way third party handles the information they hold about us, how it is collected, processed, shared, stored and used, stressing that in other words, privacy is the big picture and data protection is one corner of it.

On the second perspective, Mallam Abdullahi emphasized on how digitalization is creating new ways to collect, access, analyse and use data across multiple borders and jurisdiction, with challenges to data privacy.

Commenting on what Nigerian government is doing to protect and strengthen privacy and data protection, the NITDA boss informed the audience that the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) issued on 25th January 2019 was crafted to meet 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 2686 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 full member of the Common Thread Network (CTN), A network of Common wealth Nations Data Protections Authority

After 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.

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