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FG releases guidelines on internet access, data protection

National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has released five guidelines to guide its operations as well as use and access to internet and IT infrastructure in Nigeria.

The regulations include: “Rule-making Process of NITDA”, “Nigeria Data Protection Regulation”, “Guidelines for Clearance of Information Technology Projects”, “Framework and Guidelines for Public Internet Access” and “Framework and Guidelines for Use of Social Media in Public Institutions”.

The agency’s director general, Isa Ibrahim, presented the new regulations and operational framework at a press conference recently.

He said the regulations were issued in line with the powers of the agency under its enabling law, and are available on the agency’s website.

By its establishment law of 2007, NITDA is empowered to develop, regulate and advise the government on information technology, in addition to serving as an IT legislator.

Mr Ibrahim said the data protection regulation was formulated in consonance with provisions of Section 6(c) of the NITDA Act which provides the agency with the powers to “issue regulations and monitor the use of electronic communications on all matters pertaining to government, commerce, and the private and public”.

He said the new guidelines “will form the basis for which personal data of Nigerian citizens will be protected and managed”.

The framework and guidelines for public internet access, he said, would provide protection for Nigerians using public internet from data theft and security compromise.

The official allayed fears of using such regulation against internet freedom for Nigerians, saying the regulations largely applied to service providers, not the end users.

Mr Ibrahim said the guidelines for the clearance of information technology projects offers government institutions with the process to be followed for IT procurement, under the guidance of the agency. The objective of the new guidelines are “to ensure non-duplication of IT projects, promotion of shared services, the use of local content where available”, and security checks as well as suitability. The rule-making guidelines, he said, is an international document that would henceforth guide NITDA’s activities in close consultation with the public.

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