Thursday, September 22, 2016

PIN makes FOI request on INEC over release of citizens data to third party

A Lagos-based non-profit social enterprise, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) has made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the unauthorized release of citizens data to a third party known as, reports ITRealms.

Investigations by ITRealms confirmed this release, just as PIN said its core objective as a stakeholder and practitioner in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Nigeria, is at the centre of advocacy efforts to ensure that not only do technologies and innovations improve the lives of every Nigerian citizen but that they are also done while conforming to fundamental rights of every Nigerian.

According to the Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, among these rights are Freedom to Expression online, Right to Opinion, Transparency in Surveillance and most importantly, at the heart of this call, Right to Privacy.

“Not only are these rights protected, by extension by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) they are currently amplified in the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill (HB. 490) which seeks to exhaustively engage issues of positive rights like these,” he said.

Sesan pointed out that statutorily, on the 19th of September, 2016, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria through its ICT Policy engagements has relied on the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act of 2011 to request information from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the true state of fact on the data of private citizens currently on the platform.

This call, the Program Assistant  o ICT Policy, at PIN Tomiwa Ilori, said, was made to ensure that the rights of every Nigerian citizen are adequately protected especially in the age where technologies are capable of being used against individual safety.

He highlighted the importance, noting that not only does it smack of distrust and lack of due diligence by a public institution in performing its duties to find data of private citizens handed to them in trust in the hand of a third party without any evidence of consent of these citizens sought, it portends great danger to the digital survival of the nation’s social, political and economic environment.

In addition, Mr. Sesan, urged INEC to heed the call and comply with the request in the interest of all Nigerians.

“Also, we call on all stakeholders interested in ensuring that our social capital as a society is preserved to weigh in on this issue, join hands with us and see it to a logical conclusion,” Sesan enjoined.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops 
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Pix: ED, PIN, Gbenga Sesan and INEC chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

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