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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Google takes down erring lending apps

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The online lending applications (OLAs) flagged recently by the National Privacy Commission (NPC) are no longer available for download in the Google Play Store.

In a statement on Wednesday, the privacy watchdog said Google LLC took down JuanHand, Pesopop, CashJeep and Lemon Loan following the agency’s order.

“The NPC has furnished copies to Google LLC to remove them from Google Play Store for posing serious privacy risks to individuals who downloaded the apps.”

Last month, the privacy commission launched an investigation into the said OLAs amid complaints of unauthorized use of personal data, resulting in harassment and shaming of borrowers.

The findings by NPC’s Complaints and Investigation Division revealed that the OLAs violated the principles of transparency, legitimate purpose and proportionality in the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and the NPC issuance on the Processing of Personal Data for Loan-Related Transactions.

The privacy agency instructed in four separate orders Wefund Lending Corp. (JuanHand), Joywin Lending Investor Inc. (Lemon Loan), Cash8 Lending Corp. (CashJeep) and Populus Lending Corp. (Pesopop) to stop the processing of borrowers’ personal data.

They were found to be processing their borrowers’ information including contacts, location, photos, media files, email and social media data.

Privacy Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro welcomed the actions of National Telecommunications Commission and Google against the said OLAs and urged other operators to follow regulations when processing borrowers’ data.

“For other OLAs, the NPC strongly urges you to employ know-your-customer and debt collection practices that are aligned with NPC Circular No. 20-01, where we laid out guidelines on the processing of personal data for loan-related transactions,” he said.

Prior to the shutdown, JuanHand, Lemon Loan, Cash Jeep and Pesopop were downloaded for over 2.1 million times in the Google Play Store.

NPC has been cracking down on OLAs, issuing a ban against 26 lending apps in 2019 for failing to respond to allegations lodged against them, including use of personal data to shame delinquent borrowers.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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