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With 5G deployment, telecom operators must prioritise data protection—Danbatta

Article summary

  • Nigeria’s telecom regulator chief, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said telecom operators must now intensify their data protection efforts as they roll out 5G networks.
  • He said this is necessary because 5G networks carry a huge amount of data that must be well-protected.
  • He also called for collaborations between the government, regulators, operators and citizens to achieve holistic data protection.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof Umar Danbatta has said that the protection of customers’ data must now become a priority for telecom operators as they roll out 5G network.

Danbatta stated this in his keynote address at the Nigeria Digital Sense Forum organized which was held in Lagos on Thursday. Speaking on the theme of the forum: “5G: Data Governance, Safety and Security in Nigeria, Danbatta said data is critical to the digital economy and all must prioritize building robust legal frameworks for data governance.

According to him, as telecom operators roll out 5G, they must also prioritize safety concerns. He said that the amount and speed of data generated using 5G technology were unprecedented, as such, there is a need to always prioritize consumer privacy, transparency, and ethical data use.

Unlocking 5G potential

Danbatta, who was represented at the forum by the Head of New Media and Information Security at the NCC, Dr Chukwudi Diugu, said:

  • “By cultivating trust and handling data responsibly, we can unlock the full potential of 5G technology and promote innovation in Nigeria. We know Nigeria is a highly technology-driven country, and the advent of 5G technology has opened up immense opportunities and challenges, especially regarding data governance, safety, and security.
  • “5G technology has enhanced capabilities that will provide superior communications services for the socio-economic development of Nigeria and facilitate the attainment of a National Digital Economy.’’

According to him, telecom operators must consider the challenges that come with 5G, particularly in protecting user data privacy and safety. To ensure the security and protection of networks and consumers, Danbatta said the NCC Act mandates its licensees to prevent their network facilities or services from being used.

The EVC said that the Act also prevents licensees’ networks from being used in, or about, the commission of any offence under any law in operation in Nigeria.

He said in this regard, licensees were required to assist the Commission and other law enforcement agencies in preventing crime in Nigeria. He added that the successful implementation of 5G technology is also dependent on a collective commitment to data governance, safety, and security.

Collaborations required

Danbatta said that NCC is committed to fostering a culture of safety and security while rolling out the 5G technology. The EVC also called for collaboration between the government, regulators, operators, service providers, and individual users to create a secure and sustainable environment for this technology to thrive.

Also speaking at the forum, the President of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Adesina Shodiya, said the safe use of the internet and technology requires a collaborative effort. Shodiya said that every citizen must be security conscious while using the internet.

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