Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has shut down a portal it created for taxpayers and employed residents yet to enroll in the tax base of the state after the intervention of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
The tax portal aimed at allowing taxpayers to monitor and access their tax information seamlessly gives unauthorized access to the payer data including ID, email, phone, and address. All the John Doe has to do is to input the tax payer’s name to access this data.
Although the move by the LIRS is laudable, it is in breach of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation according to the NITDA.
In a statement signed by Director-General, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, he confirmed that the reported data breach has been ascertained by the agency and that the portal has been shut down by the LIRS after its intervention. He added that the agency will investigate the breach.
The statement reads: “The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was reliably informed and duly ascertained that the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) published a web portal – where personal information of taxpayers of Lagos State was gleaned by the general public in breach of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), 2019.
“We have also been informed that the LIRS has indicated that public access to the portal was a glitch from a consultant of the Service and that the portal has been duly disabled.
“We commend LIRS for the swift remedial action in disabling the portal and pulling the website away from the public domain.
“We, however, warn that glitches of this kind do not insulate LIRS from responsibility or culpability from whatever actions, civil or criminal, that may arise from such glitch, as personal and confidential information of data subjects were made available to the public illegally.
“We stress that such glitches are in breach of the NDPR and invariably the National Information Technology Development Agency Act 2007.
“The Agency will further investigate this breach and the circumstances surrounding it with the aim of assessing the impact of the breach as well as determine responsibility and culpability of data controllers or processors connected to the breach and prevent future occurrence.
“We also advise the public to be vigilant and to report immediately to NITDA or other law enforcement agencies if they notice that the information of any data subject on the LIRS database is further disclosed or used in any manner in violation of the NDPR.
“We enjoin all parties to cooperate with NITDA as we seek to protect the personal and confidential information of Nigerian Citizens from misuse and abuse.”