Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA)

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It had been said severally that ‘Data is the new oil of the Digital Economy’. Data is an essential resource that powers the information economy in countries. Many countries and their citizens strive to protect their data and ensure privacy of their citizens. Data has become a very important business asset. Many countries now apply new anti-trust rules to the data generated in their countries. Trust is being built from how data is collected, managed and retained. Non-compliance can result in heavy fines.

With the need to protect the sovereign data of Nigeria, by January 2019, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) introduced the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR). The NDPR has created the needed awareness of data protection and privacy in Nigeria and an appreciation of the means of regulating the collection and processing of data in Nigeria.

The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) organized a webinar on the NDPR on the 23rd of June 2021 to enlighten the NiRA members, stakeholders and the general public on NDPR. With the registration of domain names, data is collected and processed. There was the need for all to understand how the data could be collected, processed and managed. There was the need to reassure Nigerians that there exists a regulation which should safeguard their data as they register .ng domain names via the platform of NiRA Accredited Registrars. NiRA Accredited Registrars were also part of the webinar.

During the opening remark, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, the NiRA President informed all that as we navigate through cyberspace, we all leave data prints that make individuals vulnerable to people with sinister motives. The President explained the need for individuals to be safe whilst online and why NITDA introduced the NDPR.

The guest speaker of the day was Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the Director, e-Government Development and Regulations, NITDA. He said that “the global digital economy is evolving very quickly, driven by the ability to collect, use and analyze massive amounts of digital data about practically everything. These digital data arise from the digital footprints of personal, social and business activities taking place on various digital platforms.”

In his presentation titled ‘’NDPR and Its implications for NiRA Registrars’’, Dr. Olatunji highlighted that data protection has become imperative against the backdrop of the dangers emerging technologies pose. He pointed out some reasons for the NDPR to include, “right to privacy, statutory mandate, crime reduction, prevention of unauthorized access to data, and customer retention”. He highlighted that NITDA was keen on compliance of organisations to the NDPR.

The participants were informed that data collection organizations were required to engage the services of Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO) and Data Protection Officer (DPO). Dr. Olatunji informed all of the contributions the NDPR had made to Nigeria in terms of income generation and job creation.

Also invited to make a presentation at the NDPR webinar was Mrs. Adedoyin Odunfa, the MD/CEO Digital Jewels Limited. Mr. Tokunbo Taiwo, the Group Chief Technology Officer, represented Mrs. Odunfa and presented the paper ‘Understanding Data Security, Privacy and Protection’.

 The information technology expert noted the rapid growth of data between 2010 and 2021, and how this growth was driven by emerging technologies like social networking sites, streaming applications, and geo data solutions. According to him, “90% of all data in existence as at 2018 were created in the past two years.” Therefore, there is an increasing need for data protection regulations to aid data management, customer retention, and regulatory compliance, he submitted.

Data protection policy best practices were recommended. These processes include the practice of minimal data collection, user’s involvement in the data collection exercise, and data inventory. The participants were informed that the world was at the stage where the sharing of information was more important than ever before and on the need to be very secure whilst online.

The NDPR webinar was enlightening, engaging and very informative and was well appreciated by the participants.