4 online lenders banned, apps removed

The National Privacy Commission has ordered the immediate removal of four online lending apps (OLAs), JuanHand, Pesopop, CashJeep and Lemon Loan, to protect borrowers’ data privacy rights.

Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro said the orders banning the four apps “are crucial to preventing serious privacy risks and protecting and preserving the privacy rights of those affected.”

“These online lending apps have raised many red flags and companies operating these apps demonstrate problematic data actions that expose borrowers to serious privacy risks and harms,” he added.

The apps have been the subject of various complaints of unauthorized use of personal data which have led to harassment and shame of borrowers and are currently under investigation for breach of data privacy law and Other NPC Publications.

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

In four separate orders, the NPC ordered Wefund Lending Corporation, Joywin Lending Investor Inc., Cash8 Lending Corporation and Populus Lending Corporation – operators of Juan Hand, Lemon Loan, CashJeep and Pesopop, respectively – to stop processing their borrowers . personal data.

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

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

The Commission issued the orders based on the findings of the Complaints and Investigations Division (CID) of the NPC which reviewed the applications and found that they violated the principles of transparency, legitimate objective and proportionality in the Data Protection Act 2012 and the NPC Publication on the Processing of Personal Data for Lending Related Transactions (NPC Circular No. 20-01).

The 4 apps gained access to virtually all of a borrower’s mobile device data, according to NPC’s CID, which simulated the loan seeker registration process and evaluated source codes.

The 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 like Facebook, Instagram and Google.

Companies operating these apps were given the opportunity to respond to the NPC’s findings, but two of the apps failed to file a position paper, while the other two failed to convince the Commission why it should not impose the ban. The ban will remain in effect until lifted by the Commission.

Meanwhile, the NPC continues to investigate possible criminal liabilities of directors, officers and agents of OLA operators.

The CID said it was investigating OLAs amid numerous complaints against them. According to Google statistics, JuanHand has been downloaded over a million times; Lemon Loan and Pesopop, more than 500,000 times each; and CashJeep, more than 100,000 times.

The NPC is currently researching and investigating over 200 OLAs available for download and will issue orders and other actions based on the results of the investigation.

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