As the world moves forward with its ground-breaking innovations in the Information Technology (IT) advances, it comes with some challenges which include cyber attacks by criminals who surf the web in search of preys to victimize.
The Federal Government has initiated various frameworks to protect its citizens and ensure they’re safe on the web; one of such moves is the issuance of public internet access (PIA) to regulate activities of public places in providing internet access to Nigerians.
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.
A statement by the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Isa Pantami said the agency in line with its mandate of promoting and regulating information technology in Nigeria was set to enforce compliance with the public internet access (PIA) regulation, issued pursuant to section 6 of the NITDA Act 2007.
“The agency commends operators who are currently providing this service across Nigeria, as the service increases the use of internet and information technology for development of Nigeria. It is, however, pertinent to note that this 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.
“The Federal Government is also concerned about the management and use of the personal information of Nigerians. 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 Act 2007. Henceforth, only registered, verified and vetted providers can provide public internet access service in Nigeria,” the statement said.
The statement pointed out that current and prospecting providers were 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, saying the PIA registration form and the PIA compliance forms are available on the agency’s website (www.nitda.gov.ng).
“It should be noted that violation of the regulatory guidelines of NITDA is a criminal offence and punishable with a fine, imprisonment or both. Members of the public and operators of public internet access service are advised to comply promptly and accordingly,” it added.
NITDA is a federal government agency established in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy as well as coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country. 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; 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.
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