HomeFeaturesNigerians' Personal Data Sold Online At Alarming Rate

Nigerians’ Personal Data Sold Online At Alarming Rate

Listen to article

Paradigm Initiative, a leading light in Africa’s digital sphere, has blown the whistle on a shocking data breach, where unscrupulous websites are brazenly selling sensitive personal and financial information of Nigerians at a rock-bottom price, sparking widespread concern.

Yesterday, at a media briefing in Lagos, the firm dropped a bombshell, alleging that the National Identity Numbers (NIN) of both the powerful and the ordinary are being freely sold for a meager N100, without any restrictions or safeguards in place.

According to Gbenga Sesan, PIN’s Executive Director, this disturbing trend constitutes a flagrant infringement on fundamental privacy rights, a data breach with far-reaching consequences that jeopardize both personal security and the nation’s economic well-being.

The existence of these websites, Sesan noted, exposes a glaring weakness in the country’s data security and cybersecurity frameworks, a lapse that demands swift remedial action.

The country, Sesan lamented, is plagued by a rampant disregard for data privacy, where individuals’ personal information is subjected to rampant abuse and exploitation, all with utter disregard for accountability.

The unchecked spread of personal information, Sesan regretted, severely compromises the efficacy of NIN and BVN integration, a crucial aspect of Nigeria’s identity management framework.

The government must act with alacrity, Sesan emphasized, initiating a thorough investigation to expose the perpetrators of these data breaches, fortifying cybersecurity measures to prevent further vulnerabilities, and implementing the Nigeria Data Protection Act to strengthen the NDPC’s mandate and protect citizens’ personal data.

Read also: ‘I Won’t Stop Opposition Members From Joining LP’ – Otti

The website in question saw a remarkable surge in traffic, with February 2024 logging 567,990 visits and April 2024 recording 188,360 visits, a trend that raises red flags about the handling of personal data.

“Due to the severe implication for millions of Nigerians, we have through our legal partners. Vindich Legal served a pre-action notice to the following Government Agencies. National Identity Management Commission, NIMC; Nigeria Data Protection Commission, NDPC Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Federal Road Safety Corps (RSC) and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AG)

“On March 16, 2024, an online media outlet. Fij.ng, published a story on its platform, with the headline, “Alert: XpressVerify a Private Website. Has Access to Registered Nigerians Data and Is Making Money From It”

“In that publication, the media outlet presented an investigative story of a website with the web address, www.XpressVerify.com.ng, that had access to the personal data of Nigerian citizens and commercialised the data for personal gain. Even though the website was quickly taken down. Paradigm Initiative is currently seeking legal redress on behalf of Nigerian citizens.

“Following the XpressVerify incident, further research was undertaken and it was discovered that another actor tagged AnyVerify.con.ng has been operating in the digital space of Nigeria since November 2023

“From our research, AnyVerify .com.ng is a website involved in the commercial distribution of personal and private data of Nigerians. On its webpage, a drop-down displaying the myriads of data services which the website renders can be observed.

“ These include personal data such as the NIN, BVN, a virtual NIN Driving License International Passport. Company details. Tax Identification Number (TIN), Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and Phone Numbers, all these are sold by this website to any interested party for the sum of N100.00 for each data request.

Khadijah El-Usman, Senior Programs Officer and legal expert, emphasized that Nigerians have made significant sacrifices and entrusted their personal information to the government, expecting a reciprocal commitment to security and protection.

According to El-Usman, it would be a bitter irony if the personal data entrusted to the government were to end up in the possession of rogue elements, such as kidnappers, burglars, and terrorists.

The Eastern Updates

Most Popular

Recent Comments