The Kenyan Data Protection Commissioner has ordered co-working space provider Regus and digital money lending company Whitepath to pay fines totaling Ksh 5 million each for violating enforcement letters
150 complaints were filed with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) over Whitepath's loan apps, which unrestrictedly accessed users' mobile phone contacts and sent spam and unwanted text messages and adverts. Sky Pesa, Insta Cash, and ZuriCash available on playstore for download are all owned by Whitepath.
The ODPC has imposed a severe penalty on Regus due to its lack of cooperation, failure to react to a notification of complaint from October 27 over repeated spamming and improper automated communications, and continued disregard for an Enforcement Notice dated February 16, 2023.
"each company is required to pay the ODPC a penalty of Kenya shillings five million," - Data Commissioner
“Data protection is the responsibility of every data controller and processor and it must be the company’s top priority whenever they collect, process, or store personal information. I challenge businesses to protect personal data by design and by default to avoid penalties,” said Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait
Debt shaming allegations
Online petitioning service Change.org has launched a campaign against Whitepath's alleged unfair debt-shaming tactics. Having galvanized 217 signatures, victims have come out on the platform and shared their testimonies about how loan collection agencies were mistreating them and threatening to utilize access to their cellphone contacts to get debt repayments.
Further, in the 150 complaints filed with the ODPC, harassment allegations have also been leveled against Whitepath to the commissioner