After SaharaReporters Story, Nigeria’s Infotech Agency, NITDA Slams N10 Million Fine On Lending Firm Over Privacy Invasion

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has sanctioned a web-based lending platform, Soko Lending Company Limited, with a tremendous of N10m for alleged privateness invasion.

The company disclosed this in an announcement issued by its spokesperson and titled: ‘NITDA sanctions Soko Loan for privacy invasion’.

After SaharaReporters Story, Nigeria's Infotech Agency, NITDA Slams N10 Million Fine On Lending Firm Over Privacy Invasion 2

The assertion mentioned, “This action was taken after receiving a series of complaints against the company for unauthorised disclosures, failure to protect customers’ personal data and defamation of character as well as carrying out the necessary due diligence as enshrined in the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation.”

It added, “One of such complaints filed by Bloomgate Solicitors on behalf of its client, the data subject, was received on Monday, 11th November 2019. NITDA, as part of its due diligence process commenced investigation over the alleged infractions of the provisions of the NDPR.

“According to one of the complainants, when he failed to meet up with his repayment obligations due to insufficient credit in his account on the date the direct debit was to take effect, the company unilaterally sent privacy-invading messages to the complainant’s contacts.

“Investigation revealed that complainant’s contacts who were neither parties to the loan transaction nor consented to the processing of their data have confirmed the receipt of such messages.

“The agency made strident efforts to get Soko Loan to change the unethical practise but to no avail. After the agency’s investigation team secured a lien order on one of the company’s accounts by which it could come up with privacy-enhancing solutions for its business model, Soko Loan decided to rebrand and direct its customers to pay into its other business accounts.

“The agency’s investigation further revealed that the company embeds trackers that share data with third parties inside its mobile application without providing users information about it or using the appropriate lawful basis.”

NITDA mentioned it discovered Soko Loan to be in violation of using the non-conforming privateness discover, opposite to Article 2.5 and three.1(7) of the NDPR.

For the alleged breaches privateness knowledge, NITDA imposed a financial sanction of N10m on Soko Loan.

It additionally directed that no additional privateness invading messages be despatched to any Nigerian till the corporate and its entities confirmed full compliance with the NDPR.

SaharaReporters recollects that some Nigerians had lamented the invasion of their privateness by on-line lending corporations together with Soko Loan. 

A resident of Delta State not too long ago alleged that some on-line mortgage corporations allegedly despatched demise messages to his telephone and threatened to declare him needed as a fraudster if he didn’t repay them.

The sufferer, who spoke on situation of anonymity due to the threats he had obtained, mentioned the mortgage corporations additionally allegedly contacted his relations telling them he was a swindler, who had escaped with their cash.

The man, a wage earner in Delta State, informed SaharaReporters that he borrowed cash from the digital monetary establishments when his wage was delayed.

He mentioned, “What actually happened was that my bank account was hacked. You know all these online loans apps, you have to submit your details and Bank Verification Number (BVN) to them. I just saw that money disappeared from my account and confronted them about what happened.

“They didn’t respond. I also informed my bank. It happened last month, July. I couldn’t pay them. I defaulted. I sent them a mail. I told them about my conditions, but they just didn’t act or care. They started sending messages to all my contacts that I scammed them. I was shocked when my mother called me from the village. Then, I was just seeing different debit alerts coming in from them.”   

He disclosed to SaharaReporters that the businesses began deducting his cash with out him seeing debit alerts till he consulted his financial institution officers who traced them.

“I’m to pay Fast Money N21,000 plus while Sokoloan is N19,000. The amount had to increase due to my inability to pay back as and when due. They added penalty charges, yet they still disgraced me for the money I will still pay,” he added.

“Upon that, they were threatening me that I will die a sorrowful death. They said they would declare me wanted by the police and all sorts of defamatory messages. Even, they go spiritual by sending curses and abuses in the names of gods and jazz,” he lamented.

“These are some of the messages I received from them, ‘If We Fail To Get Our Money Back Now Via App/Transfer, Ajaguwa Will Continue To Curse You, Your Family And Contacts Via Calling, Sms And Whatsapp Every Now…

“In Order To Take Your Mess Further And Make Your Life More Miserable, We Will Be Going Deeper Using Yagungun To Call And Curse Your Family And Contacts By 12noon…

“Below Is You And Your Family (Dogs) Lunch. 

“Wherever You May Be Now You And Your Family Shall Die A Miserable/Sorrowful Death With Your Hands And Legs Broken…Laisaisa Iku Ebaiba…”

Another sufferer additionally informed SaharaReporters that the businesses had been established to assist Nigerians entry loans simply contemplating the procedures concerned in getting loans at business banks.

He, nevertheless, lamented the excessive fee of professionalism with which they function.

According to him, the businesses promise to provide fast loans however connect seemingly high-interest charges.

He mentioned regardless of the high-interest fee, the shoppers are hardly given time to pay again the loans and as soon as the reimbursement interval elapses, libellous messages are despatched to the household and associates of the loanee.

He listed the businesses to incorporate: 9Credit, Kashkash, Gocash, Imoney, Lcredit, Xcredits and Fastmo amongst others.

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After SaharaReporters Story, Nigeria's Infotech Agency, NITDA Slams N10 Million Fine On Lending Firm Over Privacy Invasion

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