Nigeria has commenced an investigation into an alleged breach of privacy on its citizens by Truecaller, a Swedish-owned smartphone application firm.

In a statement reaching Xinhua in Abuja on Tuesday, Nigeria’s National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) said some provisions of the Truecaller privacy policy were clearly excessive and invasive of the privacy of its users.

The smartphone application by a privately held company in Sweden was founded in 2009 and has features of caller-identification, call-blocking, flash-messaging, call-recording, chat and voice which use the internet.

NITDA said initial findings had revealed that the caller-identification service was not in compliance with global laws on data protection and, in particular, the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation.

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

And this development, it further noted, was putting “many Nigerians in unsavory conditions.”

“In view of this, we urge all Nigerians to take advantage of Article 4 of the Truecaller Privacy Policy which provides that 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,” the government agency said.

“Members of the public may also decide to delist themselves from the Truecaller service completely,” the agency added.

There are seven million Nigerians who are currently active users of the Truecaller service, according to government data. Enditem

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