Considering the possibility of public internet access being use to the detriment of national security, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that it will not hesitate to sanction providers of public internet access that failed to follow the guidelines for such services.
In statement issued by the agency, it said that in line with its mandate of promoting and regulating Information Technology in Nigeria, is set to enforce compliance with the Public Internet Access (PIA) Regulation, issued pursuant to Section 6 of the NITDA Act 2007.
Quoting the Director General/Chief Executive Officer of NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), the statement said that the Federal Government is concerned about the management and use of the personal information of Nigerians in the public domain.
While commending the operators who are currently providing this service across Nigeria, as the service increases the use of internet and Information Technology for development of Nigeria, the Agency however said it is pertinent to note that the service can be misused with great detriment to development of Information Technology and national security, in a manner that may be injurious to the citizens.
“It is on these considerations that all service providers of public internet service such as IT companies, Restaurants, Hotels and Event Centres are directed to comply with the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation of the NITDA 2019, issued pursuant to Section 6 of the NITDA 2007.
“Henceforth, only registered, verified and vetted providers can provide public internet access service in Nigeria”, the NITDA DG said.
He noted that the PIA Regulation is a regulatory framework for the provision of internet services in public areas or locations where members of the public have unfettered access.
It provides minimum requirements and processes for provisioning of the public internet access service and mandates compliance reporting to ensure the rules are followed in provisioning of this vital and strategic service.
The statement urged current and prospecting providers are therefore required to register with the Agency in line with the provisions of the Public Internet Access Regulation, 2019 and must submit, on a bi-annual basis, completed compliance reporting forms in the manner prescribed by NITDA.
The Public Internet Access (PIA) Registration form and the Public Internet Access Compliance forms are available on the Agency’s website: www.nitda.gov.ng.
NITDA warned that the violation of the Regulatory Guidelines of NITDA is a criminal offence and punishable with a fine, imprisonment or both adding that members of the public and operators of public internet access service are advised to comply promptly and accordingly.
Specifically, Section 6(a, b & m) of the Act mandates NITDA to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria.
The NITDA Act provide guidelines to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of appropriate infrastructure for information technology and systems application and development in Nigeria for public and private sectors, urban-rural development, the economy and the government; and accelerate internet and intranet penetration in Nigeria and promote sound internet Governance among others.