The Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) was established in March 1979, as Nigeria’s apex institution for research and advanced studies in law. In fulfi lment of its mandate, the Institute organises national and international seminars, webinars, symposia, conferences, workshops, roundtables, and lectures on any branch of law and related subjects.
NIALS Webinars provide a platform where the Nigerian public are enlightened on critical policy and legal issues relevant to Nigeria’s socio-economic development. The webinars serve as one of the mediums through which the Institute engages the Nigerian public. This webinar, therefore, provides the platform
for the Nigerian public to get enlightened and engage in the discussions around the protection of Nigeria’s Digital consumer, privacy and data in a digital economy and the regulatory and legal challenges experienced around cyber security law and policy. It was organized on Thursday, 25th February 2021.
The following topics were interrogated at the Virtual Webinar: Role of Intellectual Property Rights Law in Achieving a Digital Economy; Practical Steps Towards Protecting Digital Assets and Data in Nigeria;
Consumer Protection and Privacy in a Digital Economy: Legal Frameworks, Institutions and Mechanisms; Labour Laws and Policies in a Digital Economy; Promoting Digital Literacy in a Post-Covid Digital Economy; Review of the Draft National Blockchain Adoption Strategy; Reviewing the Nigerian
Digital Economy in the context of the Rule of Law; The security of Data in a Digital Economy and so on.
- Background to the Webinar The advancement of the digital economy has in recent times raised extremely critical questions about the privacy and protection issues surrounding the enormous harvesting and use of data, both for the consumer and the assets, and businesses. Digital Economy includes the use of internet to search, purchase, sell, and deliver goods and services across borders, virtual or e-meetings. Therefore the stakeholders in the digital economy include; consumers, (they procure goods and services digitally and give up information online); businesses, (they sell goods and services to consumers and receive data, and appropriate those data in other ways); also the state, (which regulate the use of consumer data and enforce the law).
A digital consumer may therefore be defi ned as someone using mobile devices, and in a broad sense, as e-consumer, looking for and purchasing products on the Internet, taking advantage of the content published on-line, aware of themselves and of their needs, and keen on simplifying the decisions they need to make.3 Digital consumers all over the world give out a lot of data without knowing who gets in contact with these data, and more worrisome is the fact that these data may not be adequately protected.
Statistics have shown that Nigeria is also contributing to economic growth in the digital age, through the fast-increasing mass of data, which includes personal data, public data, market data and so on, making them the biggest contributor to the digital economy in Africa today. Data in the circumstance, has become an essential lubricant for the digital economy and has contributed immensely to technological development globally. The need therefore arises to interrogate how data aff ects economic growth and social life, why there is need to protect digital consumers and what constitutes digital assets.
It is evident also that most businesses in modern times depend so much on data in diff erent categories, and therefore no national economy can avoid the critical role of new technologies and emerging technologies, as exists for instance in bloc chain, 5G, cryptocurrency, and so on. With these new technologies come new cybercrime threats, thereby challenging the capacity of the legislators, regulatory bodies to device new strategies to deal with these new threats by reviewing existing regulations, promulgate new policies in Nigeria to address the growing cyber security threats as they affect the national sovereignty, social life, and economic growth. It also raises the need to protect digital consumers, products, services, and transactions including the various forms of data. There is dire need to fi nd out the role of the regulatory agencies towards the dissemination and protection of data.
Recently the Federal government launched the National Cyber security Policy and Strategy, which signify es the need for the integration of cyber security policy into promoting digital economy in Nigeria. In fulfill lment of her mandate therefore, NIALS hosted the virtual webinar to engender a robust conversation, sensitise the Nigerian public, and proff er solutions to the challenges surrounding the protection of the digital consumer and assets, in a fast-growing digital economy.