Privacy agency orders online lending applications shut down

Rainier Allan Ronda – The Filipino Star

August 26, 2021 | 00h00

MANILA, Philippines – The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has ordered the immediate removal of mobile apps from four online lenders for unauthorized use of their borrowers’ personal data.

Privacy Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro said the removal of online loan applications from JuanHand, Pesopop, CashJeep and Lemon Loan is necessary “to prevent serious privacy risks and to protect and preserve rights to the privacy of the persons concerned “.

In four separate orders, the NPC ordered Wefund Lending Corp., Joywin Lending Investor Inc., Cash8 Lending Corp. and Populus Lending Corp. – respectively operators of JuanHand, Lemon Loan, CashJeep and Pesopop – to interrupt the processing of personal data.

The NPC provided copies of the orders to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to remove the four apps from the internet and to Google to remove them from the Google Play Store.

The four online lending apps have been the subject of various complaints for unauthorized use of personal data which have resulted in the harassment and shame of borrowers and are currently under investigation for breach of the Privacy Act. data and other NPC broadcasts.

The ban was imposed on the basis of 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 Act 2012 and the publication of the NPC on processing. personal data for loan transactions (Circular NPC n ° 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.

The NPC said the apps have gained access to a wealth of information in borrowers’ mobile devices, including social media contacts and data, which is excessive and can be used to harass and shame delinquent borrowers before. people on the contact list of their mobile devices to collect debts.

“These online lending apps have raised many red flags and companies that operate these apps are presenting problematic actions on data that expose borrowers to serious privacy risks and harms,” said Liboro.

Companies operating these apps were given an 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 committee why it shouldn’t. impose the ban.

The AFN continues to investigate the possible criminal liability of directors, officers and agents of online loan application operators.

The commission said the apps engaged in an “irrelevant, unnecessary and excessive” collection of personal and sensitive information without the free and informed consent of borrowers.

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David A. Albanese

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