Data Protection: NIMC’s Licensees To Face More Scrutiny

Following the reported incident of unauthorized NIN verification by expressverify.com, investigation reveals that a third party who, among others, was originally authorized to provide verification services to citizens and genuine businesses might have allowed expressverify.com to use its NIN verification credentials to conduct verification. The circumstances surrounding this permission are still under investigation.

According to a press release signed by the Head of Legal, Enforcement and Regulations, NDPC, Babatunde Bamigboye, Esq, said that to remedy this incident, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), in line with established remediation protocols, barred all forms of access to its database. Though necessary, barring all forms of access affected all genuine and crucial verification requests. After a painstaking review, limited access has been granted to a few establishments that are providing pivotal public services such as education and security.

The statement read, “Ongoing investigation – by relevant agencies – seeks to establish the medium through which expressverify.com obtained the credentials of bona fide third parties and to determine the liability of persons involved in line with extant laws. At the moment, licensee data processing generally are to be scrutinized and only those cleared based on credible evidence of regulatory compliance will be permitted to carry out NIN verification going forward.

“Furthermore, a series of intensive training will be conducted to ensure that personnel and licensees are abreast of the duty of care and the standard of care mandated by the Nigeria Data Protection Act, NIMC’s Privacy Policy and other relevant regulatory protocols.

“In the meantime, NDPC calls on members of the public to see NIN as an essential data for sustainable development. While existing technical and organizational measures are being strengthened to protect this data, citizens need to ensure that they are not left unidentified in various frameworks for development. It is equally important to be vigilant when sharing personal information on various online platforms.