The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has entered into a strategic partnership with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to address the increasing rates of data privacy abuse by money lending operators, particularly fintech.
This is according to a statement signed by Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, at NITDA, and seen by Nairametrics.
According to NITDA, the impacted money loan companies have been exploiting their customers’ personal information, compromising their privacy, and sharing it with those who were not involved in the initial arrangement.
What NITDA is saying
The statement signed by Mrs Hadiza Umar, reads, “These operators execute this by abusing their data, breaching their privacy and sharing it with others who are not part of the initial contract.
“The Agency has received over 40 petitions from members of the public on the personal data abuse of some lending companies. Our investigations led to the imposition of a Ten million naira (N10,000,000) fine and other administrative sanctions on Soko Lending Company
“As an agency focused on using its mandate to empower Nigerians and make them active players in the digital economy, NITDA is very concerned about the worrisome effect the nefarious activities of the money lending companies is having on families, friends, and the society at large.”
Umar said that NITDA is worried about the effect the nefarious activities of the money lending companies is having on families, friends, and the society at large, as some of the complainants had contemplated suicide, indicating that the government needed to do more to protect vulnerable Nigerians.
“The partnership with FCCPC will lead to a more robust and concerted regulatory approach which we believe would ensure that Nigerians get a necessary reprieve from the illegal use of their data for money lending operations. The partnership would entail joint investigations, enforcement and possible prosecution.
“We, therefore, use this medium to inform all money lending operators and other data controllers and processors that NITDA is set to enforce the privacy right of Nigerians in line with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019.”
Umar noted that NITDA’s investigation led to the imposition of a ten million naira (N10,000,000) fine and other administrative sanctions on Soko Lending Company.
She remarked that controllers and Processors who seek guidance on Compliance with the NDPR should contact NITDA licensed Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCO).
In case you missed it
Findings made by Nairametrics showed that a number of these loan app operators now send embarrassing short messages service (SMS) and WhatsApp messages to the close contacts of their loan defaulters with the intention of shaming the defaulters, tagging them with terms like ‘criminal,’ ‘fraudster,’ and ‘terrible debtor’ among others.
In some cases, the full names, phone numbers and pictures of the alleged loan defaulters are shared with their contacts like religious leaders, members of churches and mosques, close friends, bosses, colleagues and family members.