National Privacy Commission (NPC) vs Fynamics Lending, Inc. (PondoPeso)
THE LONG WAIT IS OVER. After almost 2 years of fighting together with other complainants, finally, JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED. Thank you to all my lawyer friends who helped me all throughout this journey. This is a battle won not only for me but to all those who suffered of abusive, unethical, and unfair debt collection practices online. This is also a reminder for everyone the importance of data privacy most especially for gathering personal and sensitive data without consent.
In 2019, several loan apps were launched online, and as a Digital Economy advocate that I am, these online loan apps really caught my curiosity. I decided to try several of them since I really wanted to know how they process loan applications and to learn other details such as the limits of loanable amount, their respective interest schemes, their collection processes and the penalties that they impose for delay in payment. To put it simply, I really want to know the rudiments of online loan processing as compared to the usual and more common loan application that we all know about.
However, since this new trend happens to be a novelty to me back then, I was incognizant of the security issues attendant thereto. I may have unintentionally missed to filter the app security features in my mobile phone which automatically granted the loan app to gain access to my calendars, camera photos and videos, mobile contacts, my locations and file storage.
The exact reason how the loan app was able to store all my contacts in their data storage system. I found out only later that if a borrower fails to pay on time, their system automatically selects random mobile numbers from the contact list that they gained access to and send those random contacts with loan reminders. Even if I already settled my obligations with them, they continued sending text blast of loan reminders to almost all my mobile contacts which is a complete violation of Data Privacy Act of 2012.
Mabuhay po kayo National Privacy Commission! Mabuhay po ang mamayang Filipino!
ANNOUNCEMENT (from NPC Facebook page)
ONLINE LENDING FIRM FOUND CRIMINALLY LIABLE FOR VIOLATING DATA PRIVACY LAW
The National Privacy Commission has recommended the prosecution of Fynamics Lending Inc., the operator of the PondoPeso online lending application which has reportedly been harassing and public-shaming delinquent borrowers, for violating the data privacy law.
Read more details here or on NPC official website.
You may read a copy of the pseudonymized Decision here.