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Limit sharing of sensitive information on WhatsApp, NITDA warns Nigerians

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has advised Nigerians to limit the sharing of sensitive personal information on private messaging and social media platforms such as WhatsApp.

In a statement by Hadiza Umar, NITDA’s head of corporate affairs and external relations, the agency also called the attention of Nigerians to a recent change in WhatsApp privacy policy and its security implication for citizens.

The statement is titled ‘WhatsApp privacy policy changes: Implication for Nigerian users’.

Among the data collected by the messaging site, NITDA noted, are account info, status info, messages, location details, transaction and payment data, connections, usage and log information, and internet protocol address.

After engaging with Facebook on what the new policy means for Nigerians, the agency stated that citizens may also want to explore other platforms with the same functionality while watching out for their data sharing and privacy practices.

“NITDA 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 15th May 2021,” the statement read.

“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, specifically its global policy officials, on 9th April, 2021.

“Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) recognizes consent as one of the lawful bases for data processing. Acceptance of the policy and terms of use implies that user data would now be shared with Facebook and other third parties.

“Nigerians may wish to note that there are other available platforms with similar functionalities which they may wish to explore. Choice of the platform should consider data sharing practices, privacy, ease of use among others.”

NITDA said, in its engagement with Facebook (which purchased WhatsApp in 2014), it raised concerns as to “the marked difference between the privacy standard applicable in Europe, under the GDPR and the rest of the world.”

The NITDA also added: “Limit the sharing of sensitive personal information on private Messaging and social media platforms as the initial promise of privacy and security is now being overridden on the basis of business exigency.

“Nigeria’s engagement with Facebook continues. We have given them our opinion on areas to improve compliance with the NDPR. Given the foregoing and other emerging issues around international technology companies, NITDA, with stakeholders, is exploring all options to ensure Nigerians do not become victims of digital colonialism.

“Our national security, dignity, and individual privacy are cherished considerations we must not lose.

“We shall work with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to organize a hackathon for Nigerians to pitch solutions providing services with functional alternatives to existing global social platforms.”

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JUST IN: Old naira: IMF asks FG, CBN to extend February 10 deadline

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for the extension of the February 10 deadline to phase out the old naira notes.

The International monetary body made the call just after the Supreme Court had restrained the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) from enforcing the deadline.

The IMF, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by Laraba Bonet, said the plea was on the hardship Nigerians were exposed to over the issue.

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It said: “in light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new bank notes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline should problems persist  in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline”.

The IMF is the first international financial organisation to openly call for extension of the deadline for the deposit of old Naira notes.

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Cash crunch: Protesters defy police in Abeokuta, make bonfires on major roads

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Residents of Abeokuta, Ogun State, took to the streets on Tuesday protesting the scarcity of cash and the attendant pains.

Major streets affected by the protests are Aladesanmi, Fajol and Somorin in Obantoko area of Abeokuta as the protesters made bonfires and chanted anti-CBN songs
The Sapon branch of First Bank was also vandalised and the protesters tried to set it ablaze.
Ogun Police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the protest, saying police officers were on the ground to monitor the situation and prevent the destruction of property and loss of lives.
He said some group of boys were involved in the crisis.
The police later came to disperse the protesters but they regrouped as soon as the operatives withdrew from the scene.
The situation affected vehicular movement as motorists and pedestrians ran in different directions to avert being caught up in the chaotic situation.

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Court frees Diezani associate Omokore of $1.6bn fraud

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An Abuja federal high court on Tuesday discharged and acquitted Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, of $1.6bn fraud allegations.

Omokore, an associate of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, and David Mbanefo on a 15-count charge on July 4, 2016.

They were accused of fraudulently diverting the $1.6bn said to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.

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