4 loan apps accessed photos, emails and social media of Filipino borrowers



Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

Loan applications JuanHand, Pesopop, CashJeep and Lemon loan were convicted of violating borrower data privacy laws and ordered to shut down.

The National Privacy Commission said on Wednesday, August 25 that the apps will be taken off the internet and removed from the Google Play Store as a result of their investigation.

They also provided copies of these orders to the National Telecommunications Commission.

“These apps have been the subject of various complaints of unauthorized use of personal data which have resulted in the harassment and shame of borrowers and are currently under investigation for breach of data protection law and other NPC broadcasts, “one reads their statement.

The NPC says the apps have access to a “find of information” from borrowers’ mobile devices that may be “guns” for harassment.

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 their mobile device’s contact list to collect debts, ”they said.

The suspension of their operations will remain in effect until the AFN decides to lift it.

The commissioner said the companies concerned had sufficient time to respond to their report.

However, two of them did not submit a position paper. The other two failed to convince the NPC not to shut them down.

Privacy Commissioner Raymund liboro explained why it is crucial to prevent these apps from working again.

“These online lending apps have raised a lot of 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.

Offenses

The commission also gave separate orders to the operators of the applications to stop processing the personal data of their borrowers.

These operators are:

  • Wefund Loan Company (JuanHand)
  • Joywin Lending Investor Inc. (Lemon Loan)
  • Cash8 Lending Corporation (Cash Jeep)
  • Populus Loan Company (Pesopop)

Based on the report from the Complaints and Investigations Division (CID) of the NPC which received reports and complaints from borrowers against them, the apps had almost complete access to the borrowers’ personal and sensitive information from from their mobile devices.

These include “location, photos, media files, emails, contact lists, and data from social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google+”.

The NPC noted that this level of access violates “the principles of transparency, legitimate purpose and proportionality” in the Data Protection Act 2012 and the NPC’s publication on the processing of personal data for related transactions. loans (Circular NPC n ° 20-01).

JuanHand was specifically cited for its “invasive way” of using the personal information of their borrowers.

“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, ”NPC said.

Of the four, JuanHand was the most downloaded from Google Play with over one million, followed by Lemon Loan and Pesopop with over 500,000 downloads each, then CashJeep with over 100,000 downloads.

In 2019, NPC also banned 26 online loan applications for rendering similar violations.

These platforms were also removed from Google in coordination with the NTC.


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