The National Privacy Commission (NPC) issued on Friday, Oct. 4, summons by publication aimed at 67 unlisted operators of online lending applications, who were subject of data privacy complaints but whose identities and business addresses elude detection.
In an Order for Summary Hearing published in three newspapers of general circulation, the NPC is ordering the board of directors behind the lending apps to appear before the agency to attend a summary hearing, submit their Responsive Comment, and present their defense.
The order was specifically addressed to operators of the following online apps:
Failure to comply with the order could result to a ban on their processing of personal data and the elevation of the complaints to the NPC for decision.
“Our investigation team is committed in attending to all the complaints filed against online lending apps. However, to date, only the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and the developers behind the 67 apps are identifiable. They have no known company name and business address, nor has anyone appeared before the Commission to represent them. Our investigators are aware that some of these online lending apps are just existing in the cloud. With the defendants being unknown, summons by publication is needed in order to comply with the rules on acquiring jurisdiction and the principle of due process,” said NPC Raymund Liboro.
Previously, three online lending companies, Fast Cash Global Lending, Unipeso Lending Company, and Fynamics Lending have been ordered to explain before the agency the allegations contained in NPC’s fact-finding reports.
In the complaints received by the NPC, online lenders allegedly accessed and used mobile phonebooks of the victims without their consent. Using the phonebook data, the online lenders allegedly informed people in the contact list that they were named as co-makers or character references by borrowers.
In some reports, these contacts were even asked to settle the loan. Agents or representatives of lending apps also posted borrowers’ personal and sensitive personal information on social media sites.