The National Information Technology Development has stated that it is working with the Nigerian police to investigate online lending platforms, over their alleged breaches of customers’ data privacy.
This was disclosed by the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa while addressing journalists ahead of the National Privacy Week 2022.
In August, NITDA had imposed a sanction of N10 million on an online lending platform, Soko Lending Company Limited (Soko Loans), for data privacy invasion.
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.
In November 2021, NITDA partnered with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to address the increasing rates of data privacy abuse by money lending organisations, particularly fintech firms.
What NITDA boss is saying
The NITDA boss stated the importance of data protection being the core responsibility of the organization.
He said, “We are working with relevant agencies to make sure we address that challenge because it is not only NITDA’s mandate that governs everything. When you talk about any financial services, it is the CBN. When you talk about general complaints, there is a commission for that. But NITDA plays a critical role because of the breach of data privacy.”
The agency said it was working with the Nigeria Police Force and other relevant agencies to investigate several lending platforms, popularly called loan shark platforms.“We have sanctioned some of them. We are working with the Nigerian police, investigating many of them. We are working to address the challenge,” Inuwa said.