The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa, has reiterated that protecting personal information of Nigerians online is a top priority of NITDA, as data remains a critical component of Digital Economy.
Inuwa said this while participating at panel discussion during the Nigeria Bar Association Annual General Conference held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, recently.
Represented by Barrister Olufemi Daniel, Inuwa noted that every moment spent on the internet leaves personal data footprints on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; and search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, among others, making the companies get richer through yet free services, but with the personal data of individuals stored online.
He said research has shown that the value of individual personal data on digital platforms is about $12 per person, thus paving way for technology companies to generate revenue.
“Data is the lifeblood of Digital Economy that includes Metadata. The amount of data globally in 2020 was 44 zettabytes, and is expected to reach 75 billion in Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices by 2025”, he said.
He added that Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was issued in January 2019 pursuant to Section 6 (a, c) of the NITDA Act 2007. The Regulation is the current National law on data protection in Nigeria. It applies to public and private sector processing personal data within and outside Nigeria.
Inuwa further stated: “The Regulation is aimed at protecting the right to privacy, creating the right environment for digital transactions, job creation and improving information management practices in Nigeria”.
The DG also explained that the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Incorporated Digital Lawyers vs National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) (CA/IB/291/2020) shows that the judicial system has begun to appreciate the importance of the digital technology in modern life, especially with the Court ruling that NDPR is the National Law on Data Protection and Extension of Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Inuwa acknowledged the efforts of legal practitioners and encouraged them to stand at the cusp of history, which in every new historical revolution, a successful lawyer must be ready to learn, unlearn and relearn to remain learned, and the legal professional cannot afford to take a back seat in the digital economy space.