Stop excessive collection of data, online lenders told

18-Sep-2021 Intellasia | PhilStar | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The National Privacy Commission (NPC), fintech and finance groups are urging online lenders to stop the excessive collection of information from borrowers and to comply with the Data Privacy Act.

In a joint statement, the NPC, Philippine Finance Association, FinTech and non-bank financing institutions said they condemn the harvesting of excessive information by some online lenders from borrowers through the use of app permissions, including saving and storing clients’ contact list and photo gallery, for the evaluation of creditworthiness.

The groups said such practice is unnecessary given other lawful and reasonable means to determine a borrower’s creditworthiness.

“We likewise reiterate our appeal to non-compliant operators of online lending apps to refrain from exploiting borrowers by using the borrowers’ personal data to shame and coerce them into paying their loans through unauthorised and unfair use of their personal data.”

The groups said online lenders need to comply with the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and related laws in the processing of personal data.

NPC Circular 20-01 provides guidelines for processing personal data for loan-related transactions.

Online lenders were also reminded to adhere to the code of conduct and code of ethics set by the FinTech and the Philippines Finance Association for consumer protection.

“We call on these non-compliant lending entities to use lawful and reasonable methods in evaluating loan applicants’ creditworthiness as well as in debt collection practices by upholding data subject rights without resorting to unfair debt collection practices and harassment of borrowers such as the use of insults or profane language, violent threats or false representation and unnecessarily exposing their borrowers’ personal data to unauthorised persons,” the groups said.

As online lenders are accountable for the personal data they collect, the lenders are obliged to adopt and carry out reasonable policies in handling such information.

The joint statement comes following the recent removal of four online lending apps on Google Play Store based on NPC’s orders.

NPC issued the order as the apps were found to harvest excessive information such as contacts, location, photos, media files, email and social media data, posing risks to borrowers’ privacy.


Category: Philippines

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