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NATIONAL Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has imposed a sanction of N10 million on an online lending platform, Soko Lending Company Limited (Soko Loans), over data privacy invasion.

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This was disclosed in a statement by NITDA made available to the press on Tuesday that the sanction followed several complaints filed by some customers of Soko loans.

According to NITDA, it received a series of complaints against the company for ‘unauthorized disclosures, failure to protect customers’ personal data and defamation of character.

NITDA said its investigations showed that Soko Loans grants its customers uncollateralised loans and requires a loanee to download its mobile application on their phone and activate a direct debit in the company’s favour which grants the application 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,” the statement read in part.

NITDA also said that it found that Soko loans also embeds trackers that share data with third parties inside its mobile application without providing users information about it or using the appropriate lawful basis.

After its investigation, NITDA stated that it found Soko loans guilty of using non-conforming privacy notice, insufficient lawful basis for processing personal data, illegal data sharing without appropriate lawful basis, contrary to Nigeria Data Protection Regulation.

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