Experts Raise Concerns Over NCC Phone ID Warehousing Plan

TECH DIGEST – Experts have kicked against the Nigerian Communications Commission’s plan to a Device Management System which will serve as a repository for all registered mobile phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity and owners of the devices.

Some experts interviewed by our correspondents said the DMS would give too much power to a government that has shown a propensity to abuse such powers.

Senior Programme Manager, Paradigm Initiative, Adeboye Adegoke, said, “Citizens should be worried about this. It is a very dangerous trajectory. There is no strong provision or framework or legal guaranty where people can seek remedy for breaches or violation of their privacy rights.

“Also, the Nigerian government does not have the character to respect data protection rights. In fact, the Nigerian government is probably the number one violator of such rights.

“What it is doing through the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, is that it is trying to be the regulator for digital protection in Nigeria.”

Executive Director, Cyber-safe Foundation, Confidence Staveley, said the plan was fraught with a lot risks.

She said, “On the dark side, collecting this amount of data presents a plethora of risks and concerns which will leave the commission with the heavy responsibility of ensuring that the data collected is securely stored and managed in adherence to local and global data protection standards and best practices.

“We cannot afford for this database containing such sensitive information to be obtained by cybercriminals.”

The NCC had said that one of the purposes of implementing the DMS was to ensure that when phones were stolen, they could be shut down remotely even when other SIM cards were inserted into them.