FG moves to protect Nigerians, to engage Facebook on WhatsApp privacy policy update

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As WhatsApp’s latest privacy policy update continues to generate much furore, the Federal Government of Nigeria has directed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to engage with Facebook in a bid to determine if the policy would compromise privacy of Nigerians.

According to a statement by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the directive issued by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, is aimed at understanding the processes and the level of security of the data of Nigerians guaranteed by the new WhatsApp policy.

The Honourable Minister has therefore 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 the Nigeria Data Protection Regulations (NDPR).

NCC statement
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Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami speaking at an event

Recall that WhatsApp released the new update late last year. 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.

Such information includes user phone numbers, “transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our Services, mobile device information, your IP address.” 

WhatsApp also threatened that users who refuse to accept their revised privacy policy risk not being able to use the service at all. This has since led to an uproar, with many users abandoning the instant messenger in favour of rivals like Telegram and Signal.

India has issued a one-week ultimatum for WhatsApp to revoke its new privacy policy terms

The uproar wasn’t limited to individual users as governments have also warned the instant messenger to desist from carrying out its potentially invasive agenda. The latest country and probably the most significant of these countries is India, which during the week, issued a one-week ultimatum for WhatsApp to revoke its privacy policy update.

India remains WhatsApp’s largest user-base with over 450 million users.

The Federal Government can be seen as toeing the same lime. With the 2019 Nigeria Data Protection Regulations (NDPR) in full effect, the FG is adequately equipped to uphold the data privacy of Nigerians.  

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

NCC statement


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