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It’s an offence to disclose subscribers’ database – NCC

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The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, says it is an offence for any telecommunication operator to disclose data of subscribers on their network.

Danbatta said this at the 88th Edition of the Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) with the theme: “Challenges to Cybercrime: The Role of Telecom Service Providers ” on Thursday in Abuja.

He said cybercrime had become pervasive in the country, adding that every consumer should be protected, except in exceptional cases with permission of the security authorities.

The vice chairman said the commission came up with such annual events so as to sensitise Nigerians, to ensure adequate protection of networks thereby taking measures to protect access to privacy.

“It is wrong for telecommunications operators to disclose any data identity of subscribers on their network without permission. It is unlawful.

“If such instances take place, then the subscriber in question can escalate this matter to the NCC and we will investigate and establish whether that is the case and take necessary regulatory measures.

“The database of subscribers with network operators is not supposed to be disclosed to anyone.

“It can be done lawfully with interception project in place where such data can be acquired in the interest of security of the nation.

“We must try to ensure the security and privacy of all subscribers on the telecommunication networks, that is the only way we can instil confidence in subscribers and other Nigerians to patronise telecommunications service,” he said.

He, however, said operators had been encouraged to embark on the know your customer programme as it was very important for customers to be enlightened on what to do when challenges surfaced.

According to Danbatta, at the national level, we have the Nigerian Computer Response Team that domiciles in the office of the national security adviser and put in place in order to secure the Nigerian cyberspace by keeping cyber attacks at bay.

“The strategies that we are recommending are strategies that are easily implantable; they are strategies that will assist citizens on what to do to protect themselves from cyber attacks.

“People, who commit these kind of crimes take their identities. There is the need to continue to change usernames as well as some authentication that will ensure security of data,” he said.

In his remarks, Alhaji Ismail Adedigba, Head Information and Reference Unit, NCC, said they had gone round the country on a sensitisation programme so that everybody would know about the telecom industry.

Adedigba explained that the commission gave licence to telecom operators to deploy services everywhere in the country.

He also said the universal service provision fund helped in subsidising to make sure that everyone was included in the digital revolution to enjoy availability, affordability and accessibility.

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