Home » Banks, telecoms, others to pay heavy fines for data breach

Banks, telecoms, others to pay heavy fines for data breach

by Samson Echenim

Careless handling of customers’ data will no longer be a forgiveable offence for banks, telecom firms and other business organisations in Nigeria, as the Nigerian Data Protection Commission (NDPC) moves to enforce the country’s data protection regulations.

Firms which businesses require the obtaining and handling of citizens’ data now face heavy fines if they compromise customers’ data safety.

NDPC National Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Vincent Olatunji made the revelation while speaking at a programme of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday.

Olatunji disclosed that a Nigerian commercial bank was recently fined N125 million for customers data breach, but did not give the name of the bank.

The NDPC boss spoke on the topic, “An African Regulator’s Perspective on Data Protection,” at the LCCI ICT Conference themed, “Data Protection and the Future of Nigerian Businesses: Opportunities and Risks” held on Thursday at the Commerce House, Victoria Island, Lagos.

He said, “Offences relating to mismanagement of customers data and data breach are very serious offences. They lead to serious financial losses and individuals security. Sometimes, someone calls you and say, “are you this person with this bank account details?”..and they try to get you to compromise your account security. How did they get your account details? That is a typical example of data breach. We are no longer taking it lightly with banks and telecom companies compromising their customers data safety.

“In the past when companies have compromised data, we would put them through with the regulations. But when they keep breaching data safety, we have to fine them. Now fine any firm breaching their clients data and we have fined quite a number of companies for related offences recently.”

Other speakers at the conference emphasised the critical importance of data protection and safety. They posited that firms with weak data safety reports would not only lose a chunk of their customers, but would also have an unfavourable corporate image.

They therefore called on firms and businesses to invest in data protection through building staff capacity and awareness on the importance of data safety, as well as engaging competent data managers, controllers and processors for safe and proper handling of company and customers data.

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