The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has entered into a strategic partnership with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to address data privacy abuses which have been on the rise lately. Data subjects have made frequent complaints of receiving texts from money lending operators about unpaid debts of their customers.
These money lending operators have been exploiting their customers’ personal information, compromising their privacy, and undertaking unauthorized disclosures of contract details with parties who were not privy to the lending arrangement.
Hear from NITDA
According to a press release signed by Mrs. Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, and seen by Contrivers Buzz, the Agency has received over 40 petitions from members of the public on the personal data abuse of some lending companies.
As an agency focused on using its mandate to empower Nigerians and make them active players in the digital economy, NITDA is very concerned about the worrisome effect the nefarious activities of the money lending companies is having on families, friends, and the society at large. Some of the complainants had contemplated suicide, indicating that government needed to do more to protect vulnerable Nigerians.
The partnership with FCCPC will lead to a more robust and concerted regulatory approach which we believe would ensure that Nigerians get the necessary reprieve from the illegal use of their personal data for money lending operations. The partnership would entail joint investigations, enforcement, and possible prosecution.
Recall that recently NITDA imposed ten million naira (N10,000,000) fine and other administrative sanctions on Soko Lending Company Limited (Soko Loans), for such unauthorized disclosures, failure to protect customers’ personal data as well as defamation of character.
In a bid to assure Nigerians of the safety of their data, NITDA is set to ramp down data privacy abuses and is hereby informing all money lending operators and other data controllers and processors of its intentions to enforce the privacy right of Nigerians in line with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019.
There are NITDA licensed Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCO) in Nigeria who can advise on compliance with the relevant data protection regulations, and it is advisable for Data Controllers and Processors to seek guidance. Click here for a comprehensive list of the licensed DPCOs.