Govt finally wades in to ‘oversee’ Internet in Nigeria

Govt finally wades in to ‘oversee’ Internet in Nigeria

Govt finally wades in to ‘oversee’ Internet in Nigeria

0
0

 

The Federal Government says it can no longer stand aloof with growing local online communities and is now to oversee Internet in Nigeria.

Nigeria is home to a growing connected communities counting 155,064,812 active phones and Internet users split among GSM networks, (91,274,446); CDMA networks, (30,309) and ISPs (390,794), according to January 2017 market information by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The telecoms industry regulator, which is driving the Internet oversight plans, says Nigeria can no longer stand aloof with the growth in Internet penetration and is now developing an Industry Code that will, among others, “promote the safe, secure and responsible use of Internet Services.”

The government agency is therefore seeking contributions from stakeholders across the local Internet community that leads to the development of “Internet Industry Code of Practice” for the country.

According to the telecoms regulator, “the Interconnection of several networks linking thousands of devices – the Internet – and the resultant dependencies on the facilities provided have become an indispensable platform for communication, commerce, development, etc. The reach of this platform extends beyond the traditional borders of nations and as such impact on one “area” affects another, thus no nation can stand aloof or remain complacent with the developments or its use. The Governance of the Internet has therefore become a major global issue.”

Nigeria is home to a growing connected communities counting 155,064,812 active phones and Internet users split among GSM networks, (91,274,446); CDMA networks, (30,309) and ISPs (390,794), according to January 2017 market information by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

People seen taking selfie at a smartphone launch event in Lagos
People seen taking selfie at a smartphone launch event in Lagos

NCC, the Federal Government agency that oversees the telecoms sector, says its Internet oversight plans in Nigeria falls under Internet-related projects and initiatives the Commission has adopted for its Strategic Management Plan that include: Provision of online portal for stakeholder consultation; Development of Infrastructure database to link Regional Internet Registry records; Development of Internet Code of Conduct and Development of National Internet Registry database.

“As Nigeria’s regulator for the telecommunications industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission oversees the activities of all of the nation’s service providers including providers of Internet services. A key objective of the Commission is to promote the provision of modern, efficient, reliable, affordable and easily accessible communications services and the widest range thereof throughout Nigeria, including the Internet, with policies and industry codes developed to address issues peculiar to the Nigeria and International best practices reviewed and adopted where they do not conflict with existing national laws”, the telecoms regulator says.

“As part of its Internet Governance functions, the Nigerian Communications Commission seeks input from stakeholders in the development of a code of practice in support of an open internet. The Commission favours a multi-stakeholder model of engagement in the process of policy development for Internet Governance”, the telecoms industry regulator says in a statement.

According to NCC, when fully developed, the planned Code of Practice will protect the rights and interests of Internet Service Providers and consumers in the country.

It will also “provide jointly agreed and effective solutions to the issues of discriminatory traffic management practices” across the industry ecosystem.

Importantly, the regulator’s planned Internet Code will address consumer issues and “ensure adequate safeguards are put in place by service providers against abuses such as unsolicited messages.”

According to the telecoms regulator, “the Interconnection of several networks linking thousands of devices – the Internet – and the resultant dependencies on the facilities provided have become an indispensable platform for communication, commerce, development, etc. The reach of this platform extends beyond the traditional borders of nations and as such impact on one “area” affects another, thus no nation can stand aloof or remain complacent with the developments or its use. The Governance of the Internet has therefore become a major global issue.”

NATCOM must pay, Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman at NCC, insists
Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC

Service providers will also be saddled with responsibility to under the proposed Code that will also “outline the obligations of Service Providers in relation to offensive and potentially harmful content for minors and vulnerable audiences.”

The telecoms regulator also says that the impending Code will also “promote the safe, secure and responsible use of Internet Services with due regard to provisions in existing legal instruments.”

It is also set to pave way for the establishment of “best practices for Internet Governance in Nigeria, in line with emerging issues and global trends.”

Under the initiative, NCC expects that the Code will also “provide transparent rules for the assessment and classification of Internet content.”

The regulator reckons that extensive consultation of stakeholders is crucial to the success of the planned exercise to regulate the Internet in Nigeria, as it will “increase stakeholder satisfaction through improved consumer experience online.”

NCC says that it has identified key stakeholders crucial to the success of the planned Internet regulation plans to include all Internet Service Providers in Nigeria, academia and the general public.

Under the initiative, NCC expects that the Code will also “provide transparent rules for the assessment and classification of Internet content.”

A user pictured on Facebook on his Laptop
A user pictured on Facebook on a laptop

Other relevant associations cited by the regulator include ISPAN, CPN, ATCON, ALTON, GSMA, Nigerian Computer Society, Nigerian Internet Governance Forum, among others.

Others include government institutions like Government Ministries, Agencies, and Departments like NCC, NITDA, NBC, CBN, Ministry of Communication, among others.

It is also hoped to involve security agencies like Police, EFCC, ICPC, NSA, among others as well as interested multinationals like Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.

Sunday Folayan, President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association of Nigeria (NIRA) seen at a display of Nigeria's .ng Internet domain name in Lagos
Sunday Folayan, President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association of Nigeria (NIRA) seen at a display of Nigeria’s .ng Internet domain name in Lagos

The telecoms regulator says that stakeholders are expected to submit their input (comments, concerns, feedback, and suggestions for scope and content) via its Online Public Consultation Portal.

“Input submitted via this facility will be taken into consideration in the drafting of the Internet Industry Code of Conduct”, NCC says.

According to the agency, “a draft of the Internet Industry Code of Practice will be made available to stakeholders for feedback and change requests when ready. Stakeholders will be invited to a presentation of the draft at a special Stakeholder Consultation Workshop where they will be expected to critique and suggest improvements to the draft.”

NCC says that stakeholders will also be able to submit their critiques and suggestions via the Online Public Consultation Portal up until the final draft of the code is produced.

“Feedback received from key stakeholders via the Online Public Consultation Portal as well as during the Stakeholder Consultation Workshop will be factored into the transitioning of the draft into the final code of practice.”

According to NCC, the web link for the online public consultation portal for the establishment of Internet industry code of practice is, which will be active until June 23, 2017, is http://www.ncc.gov.ng/internet-code-of-practice-consultation.

 

technologytimes.ng
Kolade Akinola Technology Journalist at Technology Times Mobile: + 234 (0) 807 401 6027

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

nineteen + nineteen =

%d bloggers like this: