NITDA, FCCPC To Tackle Data Abuse By Money Lending Operations

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said it is collaborating with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to address the alarming rates of data privacy abuse by money-lenders.

A statement by NITDA’s head, corporate affairs and external relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar, said Section 17(a) of the FCCPA, 2019 empowers the commission to administer and enforce provisions of every Nigerian law concerning competition and protection of consumers.

It said the NITDA has, therefore, found the FCCPC as a key stakeholder in its efforts to rein in the activities of some micro-money lenders who have formed a penchant for abuse of personal data of Nigerians. These operators execute this by breaching their privacy and sharing it with others who are not part of the initial contract.

The statement said the agency received over 40 petitions from members of the public on the personal data abuse of some lending companies, leading to the imposition of a N10 million fine and other administrative sanctions on a Soko Lending Company.

“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 the government needs 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 data for money lending operations. The partnership would entail joint investigations, enforcement and possible prosecution.

“We, therefore, use this medium to inform all money lending operators and other data controllers and processors that NITDA is set to enforce the privacy right of Nigerians in line with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019. Controllers and Processors who seek guidance on Compliance with the NDPR should contact NITDA licensed Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCO),” the statement added.

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