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NITDA Slams N5m Fine on ESL over Data Breach

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has placed a five million (N5m) fine on Electronic Settlement Limited over personal data breach that occurred at the company.

NITDA said that it arrived at the fine after concluding investigation process on the personal data provision, which is in line with the provisions of Nigeria Data Protection Regulations (NDPR).

The investigative process we gathered, involved an analysis of the company’s applications and websites; visit to the company’s office in Lagos, review of its technical documents as submitted to the Agency and interrogation of its officials by NITDA investigation team in Abuja.

“At the end of the process, we have established that there was a data breach involving the company”,  Mrs Hadiza Umar, head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), confirmed.

NITDA however has commended Electronic Settlement Limited for the actions taken to mitigate this breach.

“Particularly, it’s taking full responsibility for the breach, updating identified security issues, cooperation with NITDA investigation team, recruitment of a data protection compliance organization, submission of its annual NDPR audit report and generally improving its compliance with the NDPR.

“The company’s actions demonstrate its sense of responsibility and duty to protect the data of Nigerians and customers in general.

“The objective of our investigation was to assess the risk resulting from the breach, with a view to identifying the causes, remedial actions taken and other necessary issues to avoid recurrence.

“The company has been well briefed on our prescriptions for better information security and protection of personal data”.

Umar said that in compliance with the NDPR and the need to prevent a repeat of this unfortunate breach, NITDA has directed as follows:

Electronic Settlement Limited shall be under a six-month information technology oversight by NITDA. The oversight shall involve oversight of implementation of prescribed security controls and processes.

That a clear data security and governance document is drawn up between the Electronic Settlement Limited and all its Information Technology services vendors identifying roles, responsibilities and processes involved in securing and protecting personal data.

That the company conduct regular NDPR training for all staff, publish and implement appropriate policies as required by the NDPR.

Submit 2020/2021 regulatory audit as required by Article 4.1.6 of the NDPR, conducted by a Data Protection Compliance Organization (DPCO) as licensed by NITDA.

Conduct Data Protection Impact Assessment on some data intensive applications and products.

Payment of the sum of Five million Naira only (5, 000, 000. 00) as fine in line with the requirements of the NDPR.

She expressed NITDA’s appreciation to the general public for their continued interest in ensuring the full implementation of the NDPR to safeguard personal data of citizen.

“NITDA is therefore using this opportunity to encourage every data controller and processor to embark on necessary measures to protect personal data. The Agency has graciously approved the extension of time to file the annual audit report to 30th June, 2021.

“We further reaffirm our continued commitment to implementing the NDPR vigorously and providing periodic updates to the public with regards to our activities and investigations in discharge of our mandate”.

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