Experts worries over data security, implementation of cyber crime act

As the 12th international conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Computer Society, NCS, draws to a close recently in Akure, Ondo state, participants at the forum were worried saying that unless issues around data privacy and security laws, implementation of cybercrime act, infrastructure, among others were resolved, Nigeria’s quest for digital economy may be derailed.
Accordingly, the conference provided a forum for policy makers, public and private sector, IT practitioners and academia to keep up to date with technology trends and to discover opportunities for the private sector in the process of inclusive development and avenues for public-private partnerships towards realizing the IT objectives within the context of Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
With big data becoming corporate buzzword for organizations around the world, there was also question of who owns the data in the cloud.
Although the policy implications of the new technology may appear endless but given the potential impact of cloud computing, these questions, according to the participants will not remain unanswered. But the question, according to the participants is when and how.
However, with the volume of data being generated on a minute-by-minute basis, the participants at the forum were concerned how best companies can leverage on the benefits of ‘big data’ for economic development..
Although IT experts at the forum have advised the Federal Government to leverage on big data to improve the state of the economy, there was also issue of the preparedness of the country to adopt the new technology which is becoming the toast of IT community.
While President Muhammadu Buhari had assured in his inaugural speech that the present administration would tackle issues around terrorism, financial crime and cybercrime and other challenges of the 21st century, majority of speakers at the NCS conference with the theme, IT for inclusive development noted that critical information infrastructure (CII) must be protected as an essential asset for national development and security.
To facilitate the uptake of Big Data Analytics in Nigeria the following challenges including : privacy and security laws, shortage of skilled personnel with data analytical skills, lack of a national strategy/initiative on big data, and data accessibility, according to NCS forum must be addressed.
Stressing the importance of data for development, the Governor of the State Dr. Olusegun Mimiko attributed backwardness of Nigeria to lack of basic socio-economic data .
He urged the NCS conference to find a way to harmonize a common vision to guide the development of ICT in Nigeria in order to enhance an inclusive development for the nation.
For 21st century digital Nigeria, the immediate past President of NCS Prof David Adewumi said that in addition to implementing Cybercrime Act, legislation should be enacted to foster the development of Information Technology and IT enabled activities in the country.
Speaking during the plenary session two on data analytics, local content and entrepreneurship development, former President of the Nigerian computer Society, Sir. Demola Aladekomo told the gathering that there was need to have secured data in the cloud.
Fight terrorism with IT
Unless IT, education, employment creation were given urgent attention in governance, the fight against terrorism and other acts of insecurity may be long-drawn, he said.
Speaking during the plenary session, Tope Aladenusi, cyber risk services leader, Deloitte Nigeria, in his presentation on “Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Enhancing Cybersecurity and Resilience” cautioned that Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) are those ICT infrastructure upon which core assets that are essential for the functioning of the society and economy is dependent.
According to him, the destruction of these assets has a catastrophic impact on national security, governance, economy and social well-being of a nation.
In enhancing cybersecurity and resiliency of CII, he said that there was need for the development and enforcement of a framework and standard for protection of CII, but added that education and awareness were needed for implementation.
Outlining key considerations, he said that government should properly define specific critical Information Infrastructure and work with affected private and public sector organizations, improve on the work done by previous administrations by implementing Cybercrime Act, Cybersecurity Strategy and Policy and continuous awareness and improvement by all stakeholders
Also speaking at the on data analytics, local content and entrepreneurship development, a researcher at the Saskatchewan University, Canada,Dr. Iyilade Johnson, predicted that in the ten years’ time, big data will change every aspect of the economy.
According to him, big data is one of the intelligent industry solutions that allows government to make better decisions by taking action based on patterns revealed by analyzing large volumes of data, which is related and unrelated, structured and unstructured.
“Data is the new oil of the 21st century with potential to spur innovation and social development in many sectors” he said.
But in a communiqué issued and signed by the newly elected President of NCS, Prof. Sola Aderounmu read in part:
*That the Federal Government needs to urgently push for comprehensive broadband access all over the country.
*That the Federal Government as a matter of urgency should roll out, implement and monitor local content policy to encourage Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to patronize indigenous software and hardware.
*That the passing of the Cybercrime bill into law is acknowledged and critical stakeholders should collaborate with NCS in pushing the details and implications of the Cybercrime Act into the public domain through awareness programs and sensitization campaigns.
*That Big Data Analytics is an emerging IT concept with potential to impact individual, businesses and Government in many ways including marketing, customer relationship management, and fraud detection.
*That Emerging technologies including Big Data Analytics are also key to innovation and socio-economic development in every sector and in all agencies of government.