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Online lending apps probed for shaming delinquents.

Online lending apps probed for shaming delinquents !-- -- Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2019 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has initiated an investigation of 48 online lending applications that allegedly shamed borrowers who failed to settle their obligations on time. Privacy commissioner Raymund Liboro said they have received over 400 complaints from borrowers over alleged misuse of their personal information, including disclosure of their unpaid balances to other people.

"Over the past few months, we received almost identical complaints that pile up by the day from individuals accusing online lending apps of rude practices. Complainants say the harassment and shaming started when they failed to pay their balances on time," Liboro told a press briefing yesterday.

"The people behind the lending app called or texted their contact list about their inability to return the money, causing them embarrassment and emotional stress," he added. Liboro said they are conducting an investigation to look into the complaints, noting possible breach of provisions of the Data Privacy Law.

He said erring online lending operators might face temporary or permanent ban from operating, as well as possible award of damages to affected individuals. Liboro said cases may also be referred to the Department of Justice for possible filing of criminal charges.

"It is vital that we also hear the respondent's side of the story and we would highly appreciate it if they cooperate," he added. Liboro said the surge of complaints indicate the people's growing awareness of privacy issues, saying failure to address such problems may slow down the country's momentum toward a data-driven Philippines.

He stressed the need for users to clearly read privacy notices before they give consent to any personal data processing. "Personal information controllers, meantime, should be fully transparent when declaring how they will process and use the personal data they collect, assuming full accountability," he added.

Liboro said the NPC will celebrate Privacy Awareness Week from May 25 to 31 as part of its efforts to intensify awareness on data privacy issues.

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:May 21, 2019
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