Home Banking & Finance FG moves to ban loan apps from accessing users’ photos, contacts

FG moves to ban loan apps from accessing users’ photos, contacts

fccpc-lagospost.ng
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The Federal Government has said it would enforce the latest policy by Google on loan apps, as they will lose the ability to access users’ contacts or photos from May 31, 2023.

The Nigerian authority says it aligns with the move to curtail the invasion of customers’ privacy by loan app firms.

Recall that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission had recently registered 170 loan apps out of the 200 operating in the country, in a bid to tackle the violation of customers’ privacy by loan apps.

Google updated its policy in April 2023, saying it would provide respite for loan app users in Nigeria and other places that have become accustomed to crude loan retrieval methods employed by a majority of loan apps.

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

“We are updating our personal loans policy to state that apps aiming to provide or facilitate personal loans may not access user contacts or photos.

“We are introducing additional requirements for personal loan apps targeting users in Pakistan. Personal loan apps in Pakistan must submit country-specific licensing documentation to prove their ability to provide or facilitate personal loans.”

This new policy is coming after the firm announced updates to its Developer Programme Policy, mandating digital moneylenders in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Kenya to conform to regulatory rules or be taken down by January 31.

According to the firm, only digital moneylenders that have adhered to and completed the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 (as may be amended from time to time) by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and obtain a verifiable approval letter from the FCCPC will be allowed on Play Store in Nigeria.

The Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, stated that it was a welcome development and shows that Google was institutionalising its regulatory policy.

He said, “It is a welcome development effort and is consistent with the position the FCCPC has taken and what we are enforcing.

“Google is now institutionalising our regulatory effort as a policy, which is very welcome. It is certainly important for proper regulatory oversight of the industry, and we commend Google for taking a position that is consistent with our position as regulators.”

He added, “Recall that we took this position earlier and what has happened is that Google has looked at the regulatory landscape, looked at the regulatory priorities, and is supporting those priorities by institutionalizing those regulatory priorities and position.”

The commission’s ‘Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending 2022’ is an attempt to regulate the digital lending space and make registration and approval a prerequisite for companies seeking to operate in the space.

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