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Nigerian authorities investigate illicit digital ID data sale

Nigerian authorities investigate illicit digital ID data sale

Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission is reassuring citizens and stakeholders that their digital identity data is secure, after a private company was revealed to be selling the personal data of Nigerians online.

A company called XpressVerify, billing itself as an identity verification provider, had unrestricted access to the country’s National Identification Database, reports the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, which stores the data associated with Nigerians’ National Identity Numbers. It was selling that data, in what NIMC refers to as “an alleged breach of citizen’s data.”

The company was selling digital identity numbers (NINs), full names, phone numbers, addresses and photographs, according to FIJ’s initial reporting. The information was being sold for only 200 naira (US$0.13) for each individuals’ records.

No indication was given from either XpressVerify or NIMC that the company has any official status as a government partner or service provider.

XpressVerify’s domain registrar Namecheap Incorporated said on Sunday that it has suspended the company’s domain.

Also, NIMC CEO and DG Engr. Abisoye Coker-Odusote has ordered an investigation into whether any tokenization verification agents had breached their licensing agreements, directly or through sub-licensees.

Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) will likewise hold its own investigation, The Guardian Nigeria reports. NIMC has offered its support to the NDPC investigation, the preliminary findings of which are expected to be released within a week.

Nigeria established a new data protection law last year after years of legislative effort, and NPDC and NIMC held a workshop on data protection in February.

Coker-Odusote met last week with the Senate Committee on National Identity and National Population to explain the challenges NIMC is facing in enrolling more Nigerians for their national digital ID.

Legitimate Nigerian identity verification provider Youverify announced just last week $2.5 million in funding raised.

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