The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) has asked Nigeria to make laws protecting personal data of Nigerians, following the widespread use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the country.
Shola Taylor, Secretary-General, CTO made the suggestion during a stakeholder consultation session organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) where he emphasised challenges and impacts of over-the-top (OTT) services while urging regulatory responses to them that are tailored to the context of each Commonwealth country.
According to the CTO chief, “following the widespread use of OTTs and ICTs, and the emergence of data security issues, some of which are not limited by physical jurisdictions and cross national borders, it is vital that Nigeria establishes legislation on data protection and privacy which ensures the protection of personal data in Nigeria.”
CTO also presented the findings of its study on over-the-top (OTT) services to the Nigerian ICT industry to provide them with an opportunity to discuss and validate the findings.
Over 60 stakeholders from all segments of the country’s industry, including the Ministry of Communications Technology, the NCC, mobile network operators and Internet service providers and broadcasters were part of the session .
Participants discussed the findings of the study, highlighting specific issues and recommendations which are significant to the Nigerian context.
This includes participants underlining the challenges in implementing licensing frameworks for OTTs, the new and emerging trend of Nigerians using OTTs to roll out businesses and deliver services, the security issues associated with OTT encryption and lawful interception of data, the challenge of creating a level playing field where all stakeholders including OTTs, traditional service providers, governments and consumers all benefit, etc.
Sunday Dare, the Executive Commissioner for Stakeholder Management at NCC also says it is evident that consumers in Nigeria have gained from the innovation and services provided by OTT service providers adding that these innovations and services and the ensuing consumer behaviour predates the present regulatory approaches in Nigeria.
“It has now become vital for Nigeria to come up with regulatory approaches that not only address the peculiarities of the Nigerian “OTT” context but also ensure positive outcomes for consumers, traditional service providers, OTTs, and the Federal Government. The CTO’s OTT report is an excellent start to doing just that,” Dare says.
The CTO says that the report will be published on June 19, this year and will present vital issues and recommendations on OTT services.
CTO is the oldest and largest Commonwealth intergovernmental organisation in the field of information and communication technologies with diverse memberships spanning developed and least developed countries, small island developing states, and more recently also the private sector and civil society.