From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has placed a N10m fine on an online lending platform, Soko Lending Company Limited (Soko Loans), for privacy invasion.
The agency also disclosed that the criminal aspects of the investigation has been deposited with the Police to determine if the executives of the company are liable to imprisonment for violating Section 17 of the NITDA Act, 2007.
According to a statement by its spokesperson, Mrs Hadiza Umar, NITDA acted after receiving 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 (NDPR).
One of such complaints filed by Bloomgate Solicitors on behalf of its client, the data subject, was received on Monday, November 11, 2019. NITDA, as part of its due diligence process, commenced investigation over the alleged infractions of the provisions of the NDPR.
Soko Loans grants its customers uncollateralized loans and requires a loanee to download its mobile application on their phone and activate a direct debit in the company’s favour. The app gains access to the loanee’s phone contacts.
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.