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FG Tackles Facebook Over Access To Data of Nigerians On WhatsApp


The Nigerian government says it will engage with Facebook over the new privacy policy of the company’s messaging application, WhatsApp.

A statement Sunday said the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has directed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to engage with Facebook “to understand the processes, level of security, etc of the data of Nigerian users.”

The government said its aim is to ensure the new privacy policy proposed for Nigeria adheres to the provisions of Nigeria Data Protection Regulations.

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

The 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 initially indicated that users who refuse to accept their revised privacy policy risk not being able to use the service at all.

After several countries challenged the move, the company reversed the plan to limit the functionality of the messaging app for those who do not accept the new privacy policy.

“Given recent discussions with various authorities and privacy experts, we want to make clear that we will not limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works for those who have not yet accepted the update,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told The Verge. The company also said this “is the plan moving forward indefinitely.”

The Nigerian government said it was 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.

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