A Popular “Security App” Used By 7 Million Nigerians Is Under Investigation For Being A Trap

By  |  September 24, 2019

The Nigerian government has declared investigations into the services of an app that has become quite popular in Nigeria, citing privacy violation concerns.

Truecaller, as it is called, is a widely-used caller recognition app used by no less than 7 million Nigerians at the last count.

Mobile phone users usually use the app to identify who is on the other end of the phone when they get calls from strange numbers. But now the app is going to be put under scrutiny due to what is being talked up as privacy violations.

Just yesterday, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) issued a statement in which it mentioned it has commenced investigations into the activities of Truecaller App over alleged violation of the privacy rights of Nigerians.

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

NITDA explained further that Truecaller’s privacy policy consists of two sets – one for those in the European Economic Area and the other for those outside it. And Nigeria is in the second category with privacy policies that differ from the other category.

The Director-General of the NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, also mentioned that Nigerian users of the Truecaller App are contracted with Truecaller India, where privacy laws are different in certain respects.

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,” the statement read.

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

In a nutshell, the NITDA suspects that unknown to most users who are far-too-willing to click on “Yes, I agree”, Truecaller service collects far more information than it needs to provide its primary service.

The agency also declared its commitment to keeping an eye on the activities of service providers to ensure that the privacy rights of Nigerians protected.

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