Data Protection Bureau Investigates Banks For Data Breach Allegations

By Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja

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The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau has opened an investigation into allegations of data breach by two Nigerian Banks; Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.

The Head, Legal Enforcement and Regulation, NDPB, Babatunde Bamigboye said this in a statement issued in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Bamigboye explained that these investigations were triggered by allegations of unlawful disclosure of banking records to a third party and unlawful access and processing of personal data.

According to the directive of the National Commissioner  NDPB, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, ”the investigation covers the data governance practice of the banks in all their branches in Nigeria and extends to all third parties carrying out data processing activities.”

The Bureau noted with concern that many data privacy and protection regulations and best practices are hardly implemented down the organisational strata of major data controllers in Nigeria.

Similarly, the Bureau enjoined organisations to heed the Nigerian Government circulars and general compliance notice, directing them to send the names of their Data Protection Officers/Contacts to the Bureau.

There are reports by Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, which indicated that within 9 months of 2020, fraudsters attempted 46,126 attacks and they were successful in 41,979 occasion representing 91% of the time! This level of vulnerability to data breach is unacceptable and it can only be addressed through foolproof data security and data privacy measures by data controllers/data processors in the industry.

The National Commissioner enjoined ”all financial institution to emulate the example of the Central Bank of Nigeria in compliance with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation, NDPR, 2019 and in creating a robust data governance system.”

Dr.Olatunji has urged ”organisations to take the National Privacy Week as  an opportunity  to set their records straight on how they handle the data of citizens. Enforcement measures will be taken against wilful violators of privacy rights forthwith.”

National Privacy week is set aside to create awareness of fundamental rights and freedoms relating to the privacy of citizens in the data processing ecosystem.

Mercy Chukwudiebere

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