WhatsApp privacy breach: NITDA advises Nigerians

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has advised Nigerians to consider other messaging platforms to share information as WhatsApp breaches privacy policies by sharing some chats of users.

NITDA said to understand the issues and give an opportunity to explain its views, it engaged Facebook Incorporated, the owners of Whatsapp platform, specifically, its global Policy officials on 9th April 2021 in collaboration with the African Network of Data Protection Authorities.

In a statement signed by the Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of NITDA, Mrs Hadiza Umar, said “after the engagement, NITDA, as Nigeria’s data privacy regulator, wishes to advise Nigerians on how Facebook’s business decision affects their privacy rights.”

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The statement said WhatsApp collects some information from users which includes account information; messages (including undelivered messages, media forwarding); connections; status information; transactions and payments data; Others are usage and log information; device and connection information; location information; cookies etc.

Other information collected by Whatsapp includes battery level; signal strength; app version; browser information; mobile network; connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP), language and time zone; Internet Protocol address; device operations information; social media identifiers.

NITDA said the Facebook Team confirmed that private messages shared on the WhatsApp consumer version are encrypted and not seen by the company.

But the metadata (data about the usage of the service) which is also personal information is shared with other members of the Facebook Group.

“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 bases for data processing.

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