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NBU and Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights to Work Together on Protecting Ukrainians’ Personal Data

Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Kyrylo Shevchenko and the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova have signed the Memorandum of Cooperation on Citizens’ Personal Data Protection.

Joint efforts will be aimed at ensuring the proper protection of Ukrainian citizens’ personal data when using financial services – in particular, when settling past due debts – and at stopping the illegal disclosure of personal data.

“The NBU, as the regulator of banks and since recently also the regulator of nonbank financial institutions, continues to develop its function on protection of the rights of financial services consumers. In a time of digitalization and active development of online services, personal data protection becomes crucial and requires reinforcement. Taking into account the results of considering citizens’ requests, the illegal processing and disclosure of personal data is a long-standing problem that requires a solution,” underlined Kyrylo Shevchenko.

"Today most of debt collection activities are not regulated by law, which results in violations of civil rights: collection agencies illegally collect and use personal data, put psychological pressure on people, and so on.   In 2019, the office of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights received over 500 complaints from citizens. In almost nine months of 2020, the figure is even bigger – over 600 complaints. More than 60% of those refer to violations of the right to privacy by collection agencies. That is why the protection of personal data is our strategic priority. Our cooperation with the NBU is very important for the protection of civil rights,” stressed Liudmyla Denisova.

Within the framework of their cooperation, the NBU and the Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights will exchange analytics and statistics (in particular, the results of considering citizens’ requests related to personal data protection), develop joint proposals to draft laws, regulations, state programs, and action plans, and hold joint events.

Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights

The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights is in charge of parliamentary control over compliance with constitutional human and civil rights and freedoms in Ukraine. The commissioner’s functions include personal data protection.

National Bank of Ukraine

The National Bank of Ukraine received the powers to protect consumer rights in financial services in early 2020. It means that the NBU started to regulate how banks, and from 1 July 2020 also nonbank financial institutions, treat  their customers. The regulator has identified many problems over this time, in particular, as regards the illegal use of personal data. The violations include the unauthorized use of personal data by collection agencies in order to recover problem debts, by financial institutions to inform about their services, and so on.

The problem of personal data use is mostly related to nonbank financial institutions. In July–August 2020, the NBU received 2,408 citizen complaints about their work, 12% of which (295 complaints) referring to the use of personal data. The NBU is also receiving complaints concerning banks’ treatment of personal data, but those are substantially fewer. In January–August 2020, the regulator received 4,354 complaints against banks from citizens, 2% of which (100 complaints) referring to the use of personal data. However, in spite of a seemingly small number of those complaints, the illegal use of personal data is a considerable problem that requires a comprehensive solution to be found by the two regulators.

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