NITDA mulls new data protection law

By Raphael Jov, Abuja

The National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA says it is making plans to present a new Data Protection Bill to the national Assembly to be translated into a new law and urged Nigerians to brace up for the new realities.

The Director General of the agency, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi disclosed this at a workshop for Data Protection Officers and focal persons held in Abuja.

He said the law when implemented is expected to become a game changer for the digital economic aspirations of the present administration.

The NITDA boss explained that the workshop was organized as part of their strategic engagement to deepen the implementation of the NDPR and the Nigeria Data Protection Bill, 2020 which is currently under consultation.

Abdullahi, who described Data Protection officers as the true harbingers of data protection compliance said DPO’s should-be independent and report directly to the appropriate management level of the organization in order to ensure effective management of privacy risks and be involved in the management of all issues which relate to the processing of personal data.

He also said that every DPO must be expert in data protection legislation, regulation and practice; act as a contact point for the supervisory authority; regularly inform the organisation’s leadership and employees of their obligations as relates to personal data; and provide advice in respect of privacy impact assessments conducted by the organization.

‘‘Our goal is to make you have a grasp of what the Bill entails and how you can start preparing your organization for the coming realities.

”We are confident that this workshop would add value to you and help you to better deliver on your job as a DPO. We are also making a presentation on the new Data Protection Bill.’’

It will be recalled that the current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, as the then Director General of NITDA on 25th January, 2019,, issued the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) pursuant to Section 6(a, c) of the NITDA Act, 2007.

Data Protection falls under Developmental Regulation – the first pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS: 2019), an indication of the critical place it holds in the desire for a brand new economic paradigm that works for the innovative and hardworking mass of Nigerians.

‘‘I make bold to say that the moderate success we have achieved in the past 20 months, is as a result of your support, questions and interest for us to get it right as a nation in this important area. This visionary move has become a game changer for the digital economic aspirations of Nigeria.’

While urging the participants to be professional in their dealings urged them to always share perspective on their very important jobs as Data Protection Officers (DPOs).

He also urged the participant to develop the appetite to continue improving your organization’s compliance as regards information security and data protection.

In his presentation, the guest speaker, Mr. Franklin Akinsuyi, who is a renowned data protection expert, charged the DPO to ensure strict adherence to the extant rules guidelines.

According to him, there is no specific restriction in carrying out their role except to avoid conflicting roles, legal and compliance, security and technology.

‘‘It is essential that the Data Protection Officers understand how to build, implement and manage data protection projects. The more complex the data processing activity, the greater the expertise the DPO will need. He must have in-depth knowledge of the NDPR and must understand organization standard and structure,’’ he said.

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