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JUST IN: Minister Pantami orders NITDA to engage Facebook over new WhatsApp privacy policy

The Nigerian Government has revealed that it will engage with Facebook over the new privacy policy of the company’s messaging application, WhatsApp to ensure the new privacy policy proposed for Nigeria adheres to the provisions of Nigeria Data Protection Regulations.

This was contained in statement from the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy on Sunday. The statement 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.

According to WhatsApp new policy, it 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.”

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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 and a public outcry especially from citizens of America, 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 however 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.

“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,” the statement from the Ministry of Communication said.

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