The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami; has urged young innovative Nigerians to monetise social media data and convert it into fortunes for themselves.
Equally important, Pantami spoke at the 29th Convocation Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Minna.
He said the possibility of extracting valuable insights from data presented an interesting prospect for embracing datafication; adding that in many cases those data mines could become a gold mine of resources.
“Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon, Bill Gates of Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook are modern day examples of those who have been able to mine data and transform the insights into fortune.”
Further. the Minister cited the popular footballer Cristiano Ronaldo as another unlikely example.
“Ronaldo has mastered the art of monetising social media data even more than he has monetised his skills on the field. He makes an estimated 47.8million dollars (about 43.4million EUR) per year from paid Instagram posts; which far exceeds his 31million EUR annual salary from Juventus,” he said.
Specifically, the Minister spoke on the theme; “Datafication of society: Economic and Security Issues in Producing and Using Public and Private Data in Nigeria”.
Pantami noted that datafication of objects transformed their purpose and turned the information into new forms of value. However, he disclosed that with the ubiquity of sensors and Internet-of-Things (IOT); basically everything could be converted into data.
Perils of data abuse or breaches must be guarded against, says Pantami
According to him, from the sensors that count your steps and track your health vitals; to those that monitor air pollution, assess the radiation from cell sites, detect cracks on roads; and predict crop yield, the list of possibilities that sensors and datafication provide are endless.
Listing the perils of big data, the Minister quoted a six-month study by an Enterprise Security company called Proofpoint; which was released in March 2019.
He noted, from the study; that over 70% of some major cloud service tenants had experienced the perils of data breaches at least once. Also 40% of the data subjects acknowledged that their accounts were compromised.
“In Nigeria, we are developing and implementing policies, standards, guidelines and frameworks; that will enable us to enjoy the prospects of datafication while also protecting ourselves against the perils.”
In his remarks, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC); Prof Umar Danbatta, disclosed that Nigeria is one of the countries with the lowest data prices.
Danbatta recalled that a presentation was made by the Commission to the ministry. This was in order to show consistency to hit the benchmark of the day on ferrying a megabyte of data in Nigeria.
“When the study is completed and subjected to the usual stakeholder engagement with critical stakeholders in the industry; we have to come up with two things, which are price flow and price count. The telecommunications companies will be allowed to choose a price for data subject to the approval of the NCC,” he said.