FGN Prohibits Loan Apps from Accessing Customers’ Photos, Contacts

FGN Prohibits Loan Apps from Accessing Customers’ Photos, Contacts

  • FG has banned loan apps on Play Store from accessing customers’ contacts and photos.

  • Google’s latest policy supports this move to curb the violation of privacy by loan app firms.

  • Also, FCCPC has recently registered over 170 loan apps to protect customers’ privacy further.

Starting from May 31, loan apps on Play Store will no longer have access to their users’ contacts or photos.

The federal government of Nigeria recently announced that it intends to implement the new policy by Google to prevent loan app companies from invading their customers’ privacy.

In a bid to address privacy violations by loan apps, the federal government has also recently made significant efforts, including ensuring loan apps are registered by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

This new development follows Google’s latest policy, reportedly released in April 2023, which seeks to provide relief for loan app users in Nigeria who have become used to aggressive loan retrieval methods used by many loan apps.

Google enforces the latest policy

In April 2023, Google released its latest policy update (effective May 31, 2023) to ban personal loan apps from accessing user contacts or photos in Nigeria and some other places.

In the policy preview, Google said:

“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.”

This update aims to eliminate the crude personal loan retrieval methods by loan app firms in Nigeria and other places, including India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Kenya, and Pakistan.

Personal loan apps targeting users in these regions must submit country-specific licensing documentation for validation.

Likewise, in Nigeria, only loan app firms that have adhered to and completed the Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022, by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and obtain an approval letter from the FCCPC will be allowed on Google Play Store.

FCCPC’s regulatory efforts institutionalized

Recall that Legit.ng reported that the commission recently approved 173 digital lending app firms to operate in the country, with 119 getting full approvals. In contrast, the remaining 54 got conditional approvals.

Following this, the Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, commended Google’s new policy as it institutionalizes the regulatory approach of the commission.

He said:

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

With this development, the FCCPC aims to restrain what kind of information loan apps can pull off their users’ phones and what they can do with such information.

This action became necessary after loan apps started harassing Nigerians by sending defamatory messages to their users’ contacts.

Loan app owners voice out regarding prohibition from accessing users’ pictures, contacts

In another report, the owners of digital lending platforms express dissatisfaction with Google’s new policy update.

They protested that despite the good intention of this new policy, banning loan apps from gaining access to their users’ contacts and photos will harm digital lenders.

This comes a few days after FG announced its intention to implement Google’s new policy.

Source: Punch