Nigeria: A Brief Review Of The Framework And Guidelines For Public Internet Access 2019

Last Updated: 7 January 2020
Article by Oluwafunmilayo Mayowa

Olufunmilayo Mayowa1

A Brief Review of the Framework and Guidelines for Public Internet Access 2019

Introduction

The importance of the internet in the 21st century is undeniable. It is the largest and quickest medium of communication and dissemination of information all over the world. The internet enables the quick and easy access of information at the convenience of one's location. As a vital tool of communication, the internet enhances human interaction and helps to maintain and foster personal and business relationships notwithstanding geographical/physical barriers. The internet can also be used to promote businesses through online marketing and advertisement.

In order to assist the government in encouraging and increasing the participation of more Nigerians in the global digital economy, some private organisations serving as Internet Providers provide free or partially subsidized internet access in certain locations to help more Nigerians connect to the internet in pursuit of social and developmental objectives.

Notwithstanding the many benefits of the internet, there are several ills associated with the use of internet services. These include identity theft, fraud, violation of privacy, financial crimes, illegal and immoral use of social media platforms, among others. There is therefore a need to protect the internet and its users via the enactment and enforcement of applicable laws and regulations.

In view of the above, the National Information Technology Development Agency ("NITDA") as the National regulator for Informal Technologies in Nigeria recently issued a set of frameworks and guidelines for the regulation of public internet access in Nigeria. Some of the major provisions of the guidelines will be discussed briefly below:

Key Provisions of the Guidelines

The objective of the Framework and Guidelines for Public Internet Access (2019) ("the GUIDELINES") is to ensure that the provision and use of public internet in Nigeria is properly regulated in order to ensure safe use of public internet by both Nigerians and non-Nigerians and to create and promote a mutually beneficial and friendly environment for public internet access providers and users in Nigeria.2

The regulation mandates every Public Internet Access Provider ("INTERNET PROVIDERS" or "PIAPS") to register with and obtain approval from the National Information Technology Development Agency ("NITDA") before commencement of its operations.3 This is to ensure that the activities and operations of the Internet Providers are monitored and regulated. The PIAPs are also to ensure that the internet service provided are of high quality in order to enhance its users connectivity.4

The guidelines further provide that all internet users accessing a public internet must be registered with each PIAP after which the user will be granted an access code for login. The verification procedure should be conducted by using the user's mobile number which will serve as the user's unique ID login.5 Upon registration, the PIAP is expected to provide a login portal for its users. Each login must be accompanied with an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), Fair Use Policy (FUP) and relevant terms and conditions.6

Each public internet network is required to be protected with modern and effective security features and to prevent unauthorised access into their network.7 PIAPs are also required to use the most recent encryption standards to protect user's data and communication on the internet.8 Access to illegal and inappropriate websites should also be restricted.9 Internet Providers must ensure adequate protection of user's personal data by observing the provisions of the Nigerian Data Protection Guidelines 2019. The data of users as contained in their database must be retained and accounted for by the Internet Providers for at least three (3) years.10

PIAPs are required to guarantee a minimum of 256 kbps as Committed Information Rate (CFI) in a shared connection for each connected user at a given time.11 The number of hours a user is expected to be connected to the internet at login and the maximum number of connections per day per user should be specified upon login by a user. Where the internet access is partly subsidized, the PIAP should specify the amount of data a user can access for free before charges will become applicable.12

Mandating the purchase of goods and services by users as a prerequisite to accessing a public internet is an offense under the Guidelines.13 Furthermore, where a cybercrime is committed on a public Internet, the PIAP is obligated to provide the identity of the offender. An assessment of the internet access must be conducted every six months by Internet Providers to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Guidelines. Also, upon request by NITDA or other relevant government agencies, Internet Providers shall make available access to the database of users on its platform. Failure by the Internet Providers to comply with the Guidelines will attract penalties to be determined by the NITDA.

The users of public internet networks also have the responsibility of ensuring that it protects access devices used and would be liable for damage done to the devices while surfing the internet. The user must also adhere to the AUP, FUP and Terms and Conditions of the PIAP.14 Failure by a user to fulfil any of these may attract sanctions from the NITDA.

Conclusion

These guidelines outline the necessary requirements for the operation of a public internet access network in Nigeria. It regulates and controls the quality of services offered by internet providers to the public especially in relation to personal data and communications on the public internet. The guideline ensures that adequate security is put in place to protect the database of members of the public. The need to account for users data serves as a form of check on the activities of the internet providers and as a deterrence from misusing the data of its users.

The guideline also serves to checkmate cybercrimes on public internet. Since all users are mandated to be registered on public internet networks, the internet providers will be able to monitor and track illegal activities being conducted on their network and report same to the NITDA for enforcement actions. This appears to be a good mechanism for curbing cybercrime in Nigeria in addition to the provisions of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc.) Act 2015 which is primarily aimed at preventing and punishing cybercrime activities in Nigeria.

Footnotes

1 Oluwafunmilayo Mayowa, NYSC Intern, SPA Ajibade & Co., Lagos, Nigeria.

2 See https://nitda.gov.ng/wpcontent/uploads/2019/01/FrameworkAndGuidelinesForPublicInternetAccess%28PIA%29.pdf

3 Clause 2.1 of the Guidelines.

4 Clause 2.2 supra.

5 Clause 2.3.

6 Clause 2.6. These policies and terms and conditions must be developed in accordance with these guidelines.

7 Clause 2.7.

8 Clause 2.8.

9 Clause 2.9.

10 Clause 2.10. It should be noted however that the Nigerian Copyright Commission Internet Service Providers Guidelines (the "NCC ISP Guidelines") 2009 provides that ISP must retain Internet service related information including user identification, the content of user messages and traffic or routing data for a minimum period of a minimum of 12 months or as otherwise directed by the Nigerian Copyright Commission from time to time.

11 Clause 2.11.

12 Clause 2.12.

13 Clause 3.1.

14 Clause 3.2.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions