NPC orders immediate withdrawal of 4 online loan applications – Manila Bulletin
The National Commission for the Protection of Privacy (NPC) ordered the immediate removal of four online loan applications (OLA) – JuanHand, Pesopop, CashJeep and Lemon Loan – for unauthorized use of personal data which resulted in the harassment and the public shame of their borrowers.
In a statement, NPC said these 4 apps have been the subject of various unauthorized use of personal data complaints that have resulted in the harassment and shame of borrowers and are currently under investigation for breach of the Privacy Act. Data Protection Act and other NPC broadcasts. Removing these applications should protect the data privacy rights of borrowers.
“These apps have had access to a wealth of information in borrowers’ mobile devices, including contacts and social media data, which is excessive and can be used to harass and shame delinquent borrowers before the people listed. on the contact list of their mobile devices do not collect their debts. “said the NPC.
Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro said the orders banning the four apps “are critical to preventing serious privacy risks and protecting and preserving the privacy rights of those affected.”
“These online lending apps have raised many red flags and companies that operate these apps demonstrate problematic actions on data that expose borrowers to serious privacy risks and harms,” Liboro added.
The companies operating these apps were given the opportunity to respond to the NPC’s findings, but two of the apps failed to file a position, while the other two failed to convince the Commission why it should not. impose the ban.
The ban remains in force until lifted by the Commission.
Meanwhile, the AFN continues to investigate the possible criminal liability of directors, officers and agents of OLA operators.
In four separate orders, the NPC ordered Wefund Lending Corporation, Joywin Lending Investor Inc., Cash8 Lending Corporation and Populus Lending Corporation – respectively operators of Juan Hand, Lemon Loan, CashJeep and Pesopop – to stop processing their files. borrowers. personal data.
The Commission said the apps engaged in “irrelevant, unnecessary and excessive” collection of personal and sensitive information without the free and informed consent of borrowers.
The NPC provided copies of the orders to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to take the four apps off the internet and to Google LLC to remove them from the Google Play Store.
The Commission issued the orders based on the findings of the NPC’s Complaints and Investigations Division (CID) which examined the applications and found that they violated the principles of transparency, legitimate purpose and proportionality of the application. Data Protection Law of 2012 and the publication of the NPC on the Processing of Personal Data for Loan-related Transactions (NPC Circular No. 20-01).
All four apps had access to virtually all of a borrower’s mobile device data, according to NPC’s CID, which simulated the loan applicant registration process and evaluated source codes.
Applications can process information ranging from a borrower’s sensitive personal data, location, photos, media files, emails, contact lists and data from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Google +.
This level of access is equivalent to the borrower’s full handover of all data from their mobile device and other information the lender may collect from third parties, such as employers, utilities, government agencies, money transfer companies and insurance and financial service providers.
In particular, JuanHand, for example, invasively uses personal data. It can read a borrower’s calendar of events and confidential information, add and edit calendar events, and send emails to contacts without the borrower’s knowledge.
In addition, the CID investigation report found that borrowers unwittingly granted JuanHand a “permanent right” to use the “true, current, valid and complete information” they provided so that they could to avail of a loan.
The CID said it was investigating OLAs amid numerous complaints against them. According to Google statistics, JuanHand has been downloaded over a million times; Lemon Loan and Pesopop, more than 500,000 times each; and CashJeep, over 100,000 times.
The AFN is currently investigating and investigating over 200 OLAs available for download and will issue orders and other actions based on the results of the investigation.
This is not the first time that the Commission has tackled ALOs.
In October 2019, the Commission banned 26 OLAs for not appearing before it and responding to allegations, such as the use of personal data to shame delinquent borrowers.
Thanks to NPC’s coordination with NTC and Google LLC, the 26 OLAs have been removed and the apps are no longer publicly available for download, installation or use.
Recently, the Commission opened a channel with Google’s regional office for the immediate fulfillment of its orders.
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