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FG investigates breach of Nigerians’ privacy by Truecaller

…says app ’put many Nigerians in unsavoury conditions’

The National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) has commenced investigation into the breach of privacy of Nigerians by Truecaller.

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NITDA, in a statement signed on Monday by its Director General Kashifu Abdullahi Inuwa, said the caller-identification service was putting ‘’many Nigerians in unsavoury conditions.’’

Mr Inuwa said initial findings had revealed that the Truecaller Privacy Policy was not in compliance with global laws on data protection and the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) in particular.

Mr Inuwa said some provisions of the Truecaller Privacy Policy were clearly excessive and invasive of the privacy of its users.

He said the provisions of the policy can be exploited to ‘’put many Nigerians in unsavoury conditions.’’

He said contrary to the expectation of many users, the Truecaller service collects far more information than it needs to provide its primary service.

“In view of this, we urge all Nigerians to take advantage of Article 4 of the Truecaller Privacy Policy which provides – “If any persons do not wish to have their names and phone numbers made available through the Enhanced Search or Name Search functionalities, they can exclude themselves from further queries by notifying Truecaller via its website at www.truecaller.com or as set forth in the contact details…” Members of the public may also decide to delist themselves from the Truecaller Service completely’’, he said.

He assured Nigerians that NITDA would  continue to monitor the activities of digital service providers with a view to ensuring that the rights of Nigerians are not unduly breached while also improving the operational environment to support ethical players in their bid to get maximum benefit from Nigeria.

He said NITDA’s findings revealed that there are over seven million Nigerians who are active users of the Service, hence the need to enlighten the public on some of the areas of non-compliance as well as guide those affected.

Truecaller is a smartphone application which has features of caller-identification, call-blocking, flash-messaging, call-recording, Chat & Voice which uses the internet. The service requires users to provide a standard cellular mobile number for registering with the service. Truecaller was developed by True Software Scandinavia AB, a privately held company in Stockholm, Sweden founded by Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam in 2009.

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