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Whatsapp: Pantami moves to ensure Facebook doesn’t abuse Nigerians’ privacy


Chidi Ogbuokiri

As Whatsapp goes ahead with its plan to be sharing users information with their parent company, Facebook and other companies belonging to Facebook, the Minister Communications and Digital Economy has assured that the Federal Government will give uttermost attention to the privacy to the data of Nigerians in line with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulations (NDPR) and the National Digital Economy policy on digital Nigeria.

A statement by the Minister at the weekend disclosed that he has directed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), as the regulator of the Information Technology sector, to engage vigorously with Facebook to understand the processes, level of security, etc of the data of Nigerian users in order to ensure that policies proposed for Nigeria strictly adhere to the provisions of NDPR.

The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has been brought to the updated Privacy Policy of the WhatsApp messaging application.

The Federal Government released the Nigeria Data Protection Regulations (NDPR) in 2019 and is committed to upholding the data privacy of Nigerians.  We are also aware that the European region is exempt from the provisions of the updated policy and it is also being challenged in a number of countries.

“The policy states that WhatsApp will share information about the users on their platform with their parent company (Facebook), as well as other Facebook companies.

“Nigerians can be assured that the Federal Government will give utmost attention to the privacy of their data, in line with the NDPR and the National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria”.

Recall that Whatsapp had disclosed that the users’ information that it will be sharing includes: “User phone numbers, “transaction data, service-related information, and information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our services, mobile device information, your IP address”.

Furthermore, WhatsApp has indicated that users who refuse to accept their revised privacy policy risk not being able to use the service at all.

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