Home tech FG prevents online banks from accessing customer photos and contacts

FG prevents online banks from accessing customer photos and contacts

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Pending apps in the Play Store will lose access to user contacts or photos from May 31, 2023.

It came as the federal government said it would implement Google’s latest policy, saying the move was in line with Nigerian authorities’ decision to limit breach of customer privacy by app companies. loan.

The federal government has recently made important decisions aimed at combating the invasion of customer privacy through loan applications. Notably, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission recently registered 170 of the 200 loan applications operating in the country.

Google said in its April 2023 policy updates that the new policy update will provide respite to loan app users in Nigeria and other places who have grown accustomed to the initial methods of loan recovery used by the majority of loan applications.

Google said, “Policy overview (effective May 31, 2023): This article reviews the changes included in our April 2023 policy updates.

We are updating our Personal Loans Policy to clarify that apps intended to provide or facilitate personal loans cannot access user contacts or photos.

“We are introducing additional requirements for personal loan applications targeting users in Pakistan. Personal loan applications in Pakistan must provide country-specific licensing documentation to prove that they are able to offer or facilitate personal loans. ”

The new policy comes after the company announced updates to its Developer Program Policy, which requires digital money lenders in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Kenya to comply or be removed from regulation by January 31.

According to the company, only digital money lenders who have joined and completed the Limited Regulatory Framework/Registration and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 (as may be amended from time to time) by the Federal Competition Commission and Consumer Protection and have obtained a Verifiable Letter of Approval from the FCCPC will be allowed on the Play Store in Nigeria.

Comment on the new policy for punchFCCPC CEO Babatunde Irukera said it was a welcome development and showed that Google was working to institutionalize its regulatory policy.

“This is a welcome development effort and consistent with the position taken by the FCCPC and what we enforce,” he said.

“Google is now institutionalizing our regulatory efforts as policy, which is very welcome. This is certainly important for proper regulatory oversight of the industry, and we commend Google for taking a position consistent with our status as regulators. »

He added: “Remember that we took this position earlier and what happened is that Google looked at the regulatory landscape, looked at the organizational priorities and supports these priorities by institutionalizing these priorities and the regulatory position. »

The Federal Communications Commission (FCCPC) recently said it has approved 173 digital lending apps to operate in the country. 119 of them got full approvals while 54 of them got conditional approvals. This step became necessary after loan apps started harassing Nigerians by sending defamatory messages to their contacts and more.

The “Regulatory Framework / Temporary Limited Registration and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022” issued by the Authority is an attempt to regulate the digital lending space and make registration and approval a prerequisite for businesses who seek to operate in this field.

Although Google’s policy states that it “does not allow apps that promote personal loans that require full repayment within 60 days or less of the date the loan was issued”, many loan apps in the countries do not adhere to it, exposing many Nigerians to leaks of confidential data. .

Irokera recently spoke on Arise TV about how the Commission’s latest registration campaign will protect the privacy of Nigerians: “We also want to restrict what kind of information they can extract from people’s phones and what they can do with that information, especially when it comes to contacts. people on their contact list and loan collection practices; the kind of language they call for and the kind of things they say. »

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