How Nigerians Can Avoid Whatsapp Privacy Issues – NITDA

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has warned Nigerians against recent Whatsapp and Facebook privacy policy in order to avoid being victims of what it called digital colonialism.

In a statement on Monday titled ‘Whattassp privacy policy changes: Implication for Nigerian users’ signed by the Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations at NIDTA, Mrs Hadiza Umar, the agency stated, “The National Information Technology Development Agency under Section 6 (f) of the NITDA Act 2007 wishes to provide this advisory to Nigerians to address Nigerian concerns on changes to Whatsapp Terms of Service and Privacy Policy which took effect on May 15, 2021.

The statement further acknowledged the importance of Whatsapp platform for business, education and interactions among millions of Nigerians.

“To understand the issues and give an opportunity to explain its views, NITDA in collaboration with the African Network of Data Protection Authorities engaged Facebook Incorporated, the owners of Whatsapp platform, specifically, its global Policy officials on 9th April, 2021. After the engagement, NITDA, as Nigeria’s data privacy regulator, wishes to advise Nigerians on how Facebook’s business decision affects their privacy rights.”

The statement added, “Whatsapp users are at liberty to decide on giving consent to the processing of their data based on the new privacy policy.

“The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) recognizes consent (a clear, unambiguous expression of privacy terms communicated by the controller and accepted by the Data Subject) as one of the lawful basis for data processing. Acceptance of the new privacy policy and terms of use implies that user data would now be shared with Facebook and other third parties.

“Users will now be subject to the terms and policies of Facebook and other receiving entities with or without being direct subscribers to such services.”

NITDA further reiterated that Nigerians have other similar platforms open to them to explore beyond Whatsapp and they can decide whether to opt out of not.

Nigerians are also advised against the sharing of sensitive personal information on private messaging and social media platforms, especially since business exigency has been prioritised over privacy and security.

NITDA however said that it will continue to engage with Facebook even though there are concerns especially regarding the double standard in privacy concerns, “We have given them our opinion on areas to improve compliance with the NDPR. We have also raised concerns as to the marked difference between the privacy standard applicable in Europe, under the GDPR and the rest of the world.”

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