FG Expresses Reservations, Engages Facebook On WhatsApp Updated Privacy Policy

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DR ISA ALI PANTAMI
DR ISA ALI PANTAMI

…FG Has Reservations, Engages Facebook On WhatsApp Updated Privacy Policy

The Federal Government has expressed its reservations over the new updated privacy policy that WhatsApp will share information of its users with Facebook, which is its parent company, and other Facebook companies.

This follows the government’s commitment to upholding the data privacy of Nigerians in its Nigeria Data Protection Regulations (NDPR) and the possibility of this new Facebook policy breaching the regulations.

This disclosure is contained in a press statement issued by the Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Femi Adeluyi, on Friday, May 21, 2021.

The statement said that some of the information to be shared by WhatsApp users include user phone numbers, transaction data, service-related information, mobile device information, IP address and others.

It also stated that the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Patanmi, has directed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to engage vigorously with Facebook to understand the processes, level of security, and so on, of the data of Nigerian users in order to ensure that policies proposed for Nigeria strictly adhere to the provisions of NDPR.

In a statement signed and released by Dr. Femi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy comfirmed that 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. 

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

’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.

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

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 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 NDPR.’’

The ministry said that 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.

It can be recalled that Facebook in its new policy said that WhatsApp may share certain information with Facebook about messages between you and businesses.

More specifically, Facebook will now allow businesses to host these conversations on its servers, which means it will know when you interact with one of those companies.

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