Telecoms: Reps Task FG On Localisation Of Data, Operations, National Security - Sundiata Tech

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Telecoms: Reps Task FG On Localisation Of Data, Operations, National Security

Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Thursday called on Federal Government to ensure localisation of data and operations by telecommunication companies operating across the country in the interest of national security.

The House also urged Federal Ministry of Communications to take necessary action to address all undermining activities of the telecommunication firms operating in Nigeria by ensuring strict compliance with data municipal laws.

The resolution was sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Chukwuemeka Ujam, deputy chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications, who harped on the enforcement of the provisions of Nigerian Communications Commission Act of 2003 which vested regulatory responsibilities over the ICT sector on the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

He said that the Commission is also obligation to ensure compliance with the obligations of service providers as encapsulated in the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations 2007, in addition to the Universal Consumer Bill of Rights.

Ujam said that the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) guidelines for Nigerian content development in communication and information technology mandated all ICT companies to host all government and consumer data locally within the country.

He said following revelations by Snowden and WikiLeaks of the surveillance programmes by the U.S. National Security Agency, efforts to keep data within national borders gained acceptance globally.

He observed that The Article addresses data and information management, mandating data and information management firms to host government data locally, a breach of which had been criminalised under the NITDA Act of 2007.

According to him, Data nationalism can be mandated by an Act of Parliament that explicitly requires data on citizens to be stored on servers physically located within national borders as stipulated in the NITDA Act.

He said: “There is need to make data available for easy access in support of law enforcement and national security objectives with particular reference to the pervasive threats of terrorism/insurgency and kidnapping in the country.

“Not only that Telecoms Operators storing data abroad is contrary to statutory provisions, some Telecoms Firms are relocating their Network Operation Centres to India.

“And their business activities remain in Nigeria, thereby exposing the citizens and the nation in general to security threats.

“Nigeria’s data security is in danger by such a development with grave implications on national security, as the centres would be monitored by foreigners from outside the shores of Nigeria.”

In her contributions, Rita Orji (PDP-Lagos) said Nigerians were constantly complaining over foreigners managing bio data.

According to her, it is not done anywhere in the world except in Nigeria.

On his part, Adamu Chika who noted that the motion was important for national security, Harper on the need to prevent casualty because it is unsafe to leave such critical information in the hands of foreigners.

While ruling on the motion, Speaker Yakubu Dogara who presided over the plenary session, mandated the Committee on Information Technology to ensure compliance.

BD

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