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FG investigates Truecaller over alleged violation of Nigerians privacy


The Federal Government on Monday said it has commenced investigations into the activities of Truecaller App over alleged violation of the privacy rights of Nigerians.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the National Information Technology Development Agency.

Director-General, Kashifu Inuwa, said members of the public are being informed of the investigation, in line with section 6(f) of the NITDA Act, which empowered the agency to render advisory services on all information technology matters.

The statement further explained that initial findings revealed that Truecaller’s privacy policy was not in compliance with global laws on data protection, and the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation, in particular.

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Findings also revealed that over seven million Nigerians are using the app, a development which NITDA said made it imperative to ‘enlighten the public’ and ‘guide those affected’.

NITDA further disclosed that Truecaller’s privacy policy consists of two sets – one for those in the European Economic Area and the other for those outside it, with Nigeria in the second category.

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According to the agency, there are ‘marked’ differences between the two privacy policies.

The agency added that Nigerian users of the Truecaller App are contracted with Truecaller India.

The statement noted that Truecaller’s operations violated Article 2.1 (b) of the NDPR which required ‎data collection and processing to be accurate, and Article 1.3 (iii), which stipulated that consent must be obtained before collation of personal information.

“By supplementing the personal information of Nigerians without specific consent and accuracy, they are susceptible to a serious invasion of their privacy.

“This has encouraged unscrupulous persons to continue using Nigerian identities to perpetrate fraud,” the statement said.

NITDA added that contrary to the expectation of most users, Truecaller service collects far more information than it needs to provide its primary service.

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The agency assured that it would continue to monitor the activities of service providers to ensure that the privacy rights of Nigerians are not violated.