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Google free WiFi coming before data protection/cyber security Act deadly—Experts

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Barely one month after the massive rollout of free WiFi by technology giant, Google in parts of Lagos, mixed experiences have been trailing the service efficiency.

Investigations by Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU) revealed that data speed tends to drop on approaching one hour after log in and surfing at any of the areas in Lagos.

However, industry analysts have raised concerns on issues bordering on personal data security on access to the free WiFi service.

In an interview with Mr. Mutuluko Muyiwa, an IT expert, he said the issue of lack of personal data protection Act in Nigeria should be taken very seriously in Nigeria and federal lawmakers need to expedite action on that. There are chances of data mining which does not mean well for a nation like Nigeria or even any other nation.

To him, “Let there be regulation. I mean minimum, when you are using full data, if you are going to keep in a database you cannot keep more than a given number of time. I mean duration”.

On the side of the service providers, Muyiwa argued that “Let them also make people to understand what they are going to do with their data and also give the people the opportunity to say no, I want my data back or I don’t want to give you people again”.

Adding his voice, another IT expert in Lagos, Mr. Ken Ndubuisi averred that “There is a need for data protection law to be put in place in the country and also the implementation of the cyber security strategy. It is a must for the government to embark on. I know that there are some efforts from relevant stakeholders, but a clear legal provision is highly needed to guide even provision of free WiFi”.

“Going forward, I think there is need for us to quickly ensure that across all the systems, the cyber security strategy implementation is enforced and everybody is compelled to be   thoroughly compliant to it.

Also speaking, another pundit in IT security, Victor Olumuyiwa argued that “Even if you understand that when they say that it is free, it is not really free because there are some sacrifices that are being made. So for example the first issue is that the Wi-Fi is being located in some particular places, for that reason, some places actually requires that you make a budget or you actually do something because you are using the Wi-Fi in that Place, so that is the first thing, and then the second thing which is the most obvious one or the not too obvious one is the fact that you are being served advertising pop ups”.

During the last week of July, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Google’s Nigeria Country Director, said Google has launched its free Wi-Fi service for Nigerians called, the Google Station, in Ikeja, Lekki and other parts of Lagos.

According to her,

“It is live in some locations already like the MMA 2, Ikeja City Mall, The Palms Lekki, Computer Village and the University of Lagos (UNILAG).”

She also stated that Google is open to collaborations with partners within the telecoms space, adding that it has already launched the Google Station with Nigeria’s largest fibre network providers, 21st Century.

“We are launching Google Station in Nigeria and we are open to working with partners within the telecoms space; telecom operators and ISPs,” she said. “We’re kicking it off with a partnership with 21st Century to launch Google Station in Lagos.”

Ehimuan-Chiazor added that by the end of 2019, the free Wi-Fi service would have been launched in 200 locations in five cities across Nigeria.

Business Hilights recalls that Google had delivered similar services in India in 2016 startling with Mumbai Train Stations, however, India had earlier put in place, a national Data Protection Act and strategic Cyber Security Act to match but Nigeria is yet to have a clear Act either on data protection or cyber security.

Business Hilights is an online news channel conceptualized and structured to report and track on a daily basis; latest developments in critical business sectors to serve as a one stop news gateway for governments, foreign and indigenous investors.