The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), which formally brought up the issue with the Alphabet-owned US tech corporation regarding the breach of personal data of Pakistani residents, requested that Google delete 14 apps from its app store.
Scott Beaumont, Google’s president for Asia Pacific, Hiang Choong, the region’s head of legal affairs, and Stephanie Davis, the company’s vice president for customer solutions, have all been approached by Nadra about the issue.
Nadra referred to this problem as “important and urgent” and stated that it “involves the personal data of residents of Pakistan, which is being illegally sold and/or shared by various applications (apps) hosted on your platform and available on Google Play Store.” Nadra’s letter to Google was titled “Breach of Personal Data of Residents and their Privacy by Application Providers on Google Play Store.”
As a result, the apps “obtain unwarranted credibility for their apps and services,” according to the statement. It claimed that the apps were “illegally and deceptively” using Nadra’s name and products to impersonate and fool users into thinking they were somehow affiliated, authorized, or run by Nadra.
Nadra notified Google that “certain apps are impersonating Nadra or implying they are authorized to provide Nadra products and services to their users” and obtained personal information from the Pakistani residents, noting that Google’s policy on impersonation did not permit users to impersonate someone else.
In the letter, Nadra said that it is “obvious” that people’s personal information is being illegally shared and/or sold through these apps, endangering their privacy and stealing information “that belongs to the federal government of Pakistan.”
The authority asked Google to “immediately remove all such apps from the Google Play Store and to curb such illegal activities of sharing and selling Nadra’s proprietary, sensitive information, which could have serious security implications for Pakistan, as well as breaching the privacy of residents, publishing, promoting of such apps using Nadra’s name or log should not be allowed in the future.”
According to Nadra Chairman Tariq Malik, Google has responded to Nadra’s letter by removing at least 14 apps from its app store. He said that in addition to writing to Google, Nadra had developed an AI system to safeguard citizens’ personal information.
He said that after assuming office in 2021, he had voluntarily given up the “super access” to citizens’ personal data and made this inaccessible even to Nadra’s employees.
Besides, the database authority had revived its information security department, which was earlier made dysfunctional after he left the authority in 2014, Mr Malik said.