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FG to Improve Data Protection, Citizen’s Privacy

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Federal government has pledged its commitment to improve its capacity to protect the personal information, data and privacy of citizens, in line with global data regulations.

FG to Improve Data Protection, Citizen’s Privacy

This has become necessary given the advancement of technology and digitization, which has given rise to cases of data breaches and privacy infringements of individuals and organizations.

Dr Vincent Olatunji, national commissioner/CEO, National Data Protection Commission (NDPC) made this known on Tuesday in Abuja, at a Digital Rights Innovation Lab meeting organised by Accountability Lab Nigeria in collaboration with, Spaces for Change, National Data Protection Commission, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, and National Endowment for Democracy.

Represented by Chiderah Claire Ikeokonkwo, head of the Innovation Unit, Nigeria Data Protection Commission, NDPC, he noted that besides educating the public on the need to protect the value of information and content shared on online platforms of the government was also committed to deepening awareness, strengthening data protection mechanisms in order to instil trust and confidence.

He said: “Everything we do these days is connected to technology and as a result of that, we need to be able to have some control over the use, the access, what exactly is being done with this information that we exchange online.

“So, at the Nigeria data protection commission we regulate the processing of personal data, which means that we superintend over issues of data protection and privacy in all sectors of the economy and so in terms of work, the kind of work that we do with civil society organizations like accountability lab, it centres around stakeholder engagements.

“We also organize trainings you know, any form of capacity building just to make sure that we are doing something to positively increase the awareness on data protection and privacy in Nigeria and to also make sure that we’re building the number of experts on the issue of data protection and privacy.

“If people are aware of what happens when they are exchanging information online, then they will be better informed about how they can protect themselves online. Because most of these platforms are free of charge. It’s free to use and then we process your information, usually based on consent.

“You sign up to this app and you exchange the information. So, it then becomes necessary for citizens, data subjects, users, whatever you would call them, to be informed about data protection laws about their digital rights so that the more that they know about these rights the better they will be in a position to actually make sure that these rights are not being abused.

“So, it’s not a question of how safe are you. I think it’s more of how much you know and how much are you willing to do to protect the value of the information that you’re sharing online

Odeh Friday Odeh, country director, Accountability Lab, said there was a need for citizens to begin to manage information and have the confidence their digital rights and data were adequately protected

Odeh who urged the federal government to uphold the total rights and privacy of Nigerians, stressed the need for a balance in order to forestall incidences of hate speech, misinformation and disinformation among users in the digital space.

He said: “Just thinking what has happened over internet governance, interment shutdown in Africa and in the world, how can we as citizens have our rights protected, how can we ensure that the Government also stands for us?

“We want national unity but we need to build the foundation on truth. Look at what tools young people are using in terms of digital tools and how they can thrive in our society.

Information is key but nevertheless, we also have thought about the challenges that have to do with content, which go on a digital platform which causes disunity in some contexts, causes hate speech in some contexts as defined, but nevertheless, we need to create a balance.

“So we are bringing this platform together with government officials, civil society organizations working on digital rights and data protection, to see how we can form collaborative or collective actions to understand how we can provide solution.”

Mnenga Shiiwua, programme officer Accountability Lab, added, “We’re looking for an innovative opportunity where we’ll be able to sensitize people and create a collaborative approach towards pushing the understanding of the Nigerian data protection Act to the citizens to engage the relevant stakeholders, those from the civil society organizations and the governments at site, to see how together we can ensure the awareness about the Act is deepened and to see how together we can protect the rights of the citizens.”

 

 

 


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E-Business

e-Governance Reform Saves Edo State N60Bn

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Donatus Ojiefoh, Edo State Commissioner of Mines and Energy, has said Mr Godwin Obaseki, state governor, e-governance in the state civil service sector has saved the sum of N60 billion, an amount that would have been expended in the procurement of office stationery.

Ojiefoh in an interview with newsmen in Benin City also disclosed that the state government reforms in the electricity and the solid mineral sectors have repositioned the state as one of the most businesses friendly in Nigeria.

He noted that sustaining the state government reforms and achievements, voters in the forthcoming September 21st governorship election should not make the mistake of voting for a candidate that lacks understanding in investment and development.

He said harnessing maximally the abundant mineral resources, the state government has registered the Edo State Mining and Investment Company and has obtained 40 mining licenses adding that government reforms put in place has continued to yield positive results.

“If Obaseki was the governor before now Edo state would have been one of the richest states in the federation. It is crystal clear that the next governor that is coming must be able to match Obaseki’s shoes, somebody who understands the investment and development status of the state at the moment.

“Edo state is ten years ahead of other states apart from Lagos. Edo has put over 20 million files into the e-governance structure since the state was created and is the only state operating 100 per cent e-governance thereby the delay and bureaucracy in governance is over.

“Obaseki has saved over N60 billion for Edo State just on office stationery alone. Whatever paper you see in my office are external papers or files. It takes a man with a potent brain that understands saving system to achieve that and we are the only state in Nigeria that has completely moved from analogue to digital.”


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Scammers Target Facebook Business Accounts using Meta’s Infrastructure and Branding

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Kaspersky has discovered a new phishing scheme targeting Facebook business accounts, using legitimate Facebook infrastructure to send deceptive emails with threats of account suspension.

Cybercriminals have devised a method to use authentic Facebook functions to send fake suspension warnings to business accounts. These emails, originating from Facebook, contain alarming messages such as “24 Hours Left to Request Review. See Why”.

Clicking the email link leads to a genuine Facebook page displaying a similar warning. After that, a user is redirected to a phishing site disguised with Meta branding, reducing the time to resolve the issue from 24 to 12 hours. Finally, the phishing site initially asks for innocuous information, followed by a request for the account’s email, or phone number and password.

The attackers utilise compromised Facebook accounts to send these notifications. They change the account name to a threatening message and the profile picture to an exclamation mark, after which they create posts mentioning the targeted business accounts.

And because delivery is via the actual Facebook infrastructure, these notifications are guaranteed to reach their intended recipients.

“Even notifications that appear legitimate and come from a trusted source such as Facebook can be deceptive. It’s crucial to carefully examine the links you are prompted to follow, especially when it involves entering data or making payments. This can make a significant difference in protecting your business accounts from phishing attacks,” comments Andrey Kovtun, a security expert at Kaspersky.

 


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Lagos State Government, Interswitch Group Sign MoU Smart Health Information Platform

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The Lagos State Government has officially signed a concession agreement with one of Africa’s leading integrated technology enablers, Interswitch, through its Healthtech subsidiary, Interswitch eClat, to develop and manage the Lagos Smart Health Information Platform (LAGSHIP).

Nigeria’s healthcare industry remains grossly underfunded with several other challenges, lacking a truly national/integrated framework for healthcare service delivery due to fragmentation among health stakeholders.

A recent report from Knight Frank estimates Nigeria would require about $82 billion of investment in health-care assets to reach the global average. Healthcare institutions continue to struggle with daily operations due to a myriad of constraints and process inefficiencies.

The foregoing is the backdrop against which this latest public-private partnership milestone championed by the Lagos State Government is being launched with a view to positioning Lagos, Nigeria’s largest economic hub as a model for sub-nationals in strategic healthcare delivery interventions.

The Executive Governor of Lagos State, H.E. Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu highlighted the significance of the Lagos State Smart Health Information Platform Project as one unprecedented in Nigeria till date.

The Governor, in his remarks asserted that “The signing of the Concession Agreement between the Lagos State Government and Interswitch for the implementation of the Smart Health Information Platform (SHIP) is a ground-breaking development which signifies the start of a comprehensive technological overhaul in Lagos State’s health sector, aimed at enhancing residents’ access to healthcare services.”

Governor Sanwoolu further remarked that “I believe that this platform represents a significant and innovative approach to utilizing technology for accessing health information. It is poised to deliver numerous benefits and eliminate payment barriers, thereby encouraging citizens to actively engage with the process.”

Capitalizing on over 2 decades of experience and strategic expertise digitizing transactions and aggregating technology platforms across Africa, by virtue of this concession, Interswitch will support the State Government in securely leveraging data harnessed from electronic medical records deployed across all hospitals (public and private) and allied locations within the industry value chain, to create enhanced experiences for all stakeholders, from administrators to medical personnel, patients, as well as for better planning and policy-making, ultimately.

The strategic objective is to address gaps within the healthcare delivery system by creating an ecosystem that facilitates deeper connections between stakeholders and essentially addressing fragmentation by connecting patients to doctors, practices to public offices and patients to their medical data, thereby solving the operational problems of hospitals and healthcare providers through the robust over-arching technology infrastructure that LAGOS-SHIP represents.

Commenting after the signing ceremony, which was jointly signed by the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Akin Abayomi and the Special Adviser to The Governor on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), Mrs. Bukola Odoe, and witnessed by the Executive Governor and selected members of the Lagos State Executive Council at the State House, Marina, Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch, remarked:

“22 years ago, we set out with a clear vision to solve social problems in Nigeria, starting by digitizing the use of cash, making it available to Nigerians just-in-time. Today, despite the incremental efforts of Interswitch and other players over the years, digital payments are estimated to be still less than 20% of total transactions in the economy.

This realization suggests that there is tremendous value, financial and otherwise, locked up in sectors and areas where government is a key player, particularly in the aspects of healthcare, transportation, and other basic social services.

This vision we had from the outset underpinned our acquisition of eClat Healthcare 5 years ago, and initiatives such as Lagos-SHIP are unfolding strategic interventions along that transformational roadmap.

We are highly delighted that after a rigorous selection process, the Lagos State Government has deemed it fit to partner with us at the Interswitch Group on this epoch-making journey to digitize the healthcare system, uniting disparate elements into one holistic platform that creates value and enhances the experience of all stakeholders, just like we’ve done in the sphere of financial services, leveraging technology.”

Also speaking at the signing ceremony, Managing Director for Interswitch eClat, Interswitch’s Healthtech Venture, Dr. Wallace Ogufere opined that the Lagos State Government’s pioneering initiative in the form of LAGOS-SHIP is significant in terms of advancing the outlook for Healthcare Management and Administration in a frontier-market such as Nigeria, and moving closer to what obtains in developed economies.

In his words “The go-live of the Lagos Smart Health Information Platform will significantly close many identified gaps in electronic medical records management, essentially addressing long-standing constraints including process inefficiencies, limited transparency and inadequacy of necessary tools and supplies, among other challenges.”

This partnership between the Lagos State Government and Interswitch represents a unique model for public-private partnership in the healthcare delivery space, and one which is expected to be a veritable reference point for national and sub-national governments in Africa going forward.


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