Data Protection Commission Targets 500,000 New Jobs

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The Nigeria Data Protection Commission has said that the one million target of new digital jobs by President Bola Tinubu would be achieved and even surpassed as the Commission alone will create some 500,000 new jobs soon.

Its National Commissioner/CEO, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, who spoke in Lagos during a Sensitisation Workshop on Data Privacy/Protection organised by the Commission, said data protection has become a big deal across the world, adding that the passage of the law and implementation of its provisions will create new jobs and improve the global reputation of the country and accelerate the flow of foreign direct investments (FDIs) into the country.

According to him, there will be data controllers, data processors, data protection officers (DPOs), and Data Compliance Officers (DPCOs) to manage the data of over 200 million Nigerians, adding that these are   new digital jobs.

Dr Olatunji said the data protection ecosystem is a massive job creating avenue because it is an emerging industry. He said currently, there are job gaps of about 480,000 DPOs and DPCOs that the number of certified DPCOs in the country is less than 10,000.

He said the Commission will work with the National Assembly to ensure that certification will be carried out within the country because currently, certification is done offshore while payment is made in United States dollars which is not easy to source right now.

He said the Commission has come out with a-five pillar strategic roadmap which includes governance, capacity building, ecosystem and technology, funding and sustainability, cooperation and collaboration.

Speaking on companies under investigation for breaches so far, Dr Olatunji said: “We have five banks that are currently being investigated; we have a university; we have a consulting firm; we have an insurance company; we have a lotto company that we are currently investigating but we concluded three that are in the financial sector.

“We’ve taken them through regulation and we’re happy that in terms of compliance, they are doing very well now, at least two of them are doing very well while other investigations are still going on.” He said the Commission takes time to conduct investigations into allegations of data breaches against data subjects by data controllers.

“One thing about investigation is that it takes time; you want to be thorough, you want to be detailed; you want to be sure that we’re doing the right thing, not to also be unnecessarily burden them with our regulations but we want to see them as partners; what can we do for us to do the right thing? “Our target, our aim is for all to see compliance to protection of personal data as a culture not something we are being forced to do so we want to create that culture and even for start-ups they are developing solutions, we want to learn from the moment we are contemplating or considering developing a solution. You must have what we call data protection policy by design and by default, so right from the moment you are building your solution you’re already adding aspects of privacy and data protection. So gradually it will become a culture that all of us will see ourselves as having to comply with the law,” he said.

He said the Commission has slammed one of the loan sharks with a fine of N50 million which it must pay. He said the practice of accessing the data of contacts on people’s phone and harassing them because someone has defaulted on loan repayment terms “is illegal; so we’re already dealing with that. We’ve fined them N50 million and they have to pay. We’ve put a lien on their account.”

He said before they can start working, they must be registered with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and they must come up with a “privacy policy which will disclose what they do; where they’re located because a lot don’t have physical addresses so where do you want to trace them?  But before they can operate in Nigeria they have to go through that process now and we are working with a lot of data to be able to achieve this.”

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