Google Removes Apps Upon NADRA's Plea Regarding Data Breaches

NADRA referred to this problem as “important and urgent” and stated that it “involves the personal data of residents of Pakistan.

Google Removes Apps Upon NADRA's Plea Regarding Data Breaches

The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) of Pakistan, which has officially raised the issue with the Alphabet-owned US tech company over the personal data breaches of Pakistani citizens, requested that Google remove 14 apps from its app store.

NADRA has discussed the matter with Scott Beaumont, Google’s president for Asia Pacific, Hiang Choong, the region’s top lawyer, and Stephanie Davis, vice president for customer solutions.

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 the Google Play Store.”

NADRA ‘s letter to Google was titled “Breach of Personal Data of Residents and Their Privacy by Application Providers on the Google Play Store.” As a result, the apps “obtain unwarranted credibility for their apps and services,” according to the statement.

Personal data breaches are defined as security breaches that result in the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, un authorised disclosure, or access to personal data.

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, authorised, or run by NADRA .

NADRA notified Google that “certain apps are impersonating NADRA or implying they are authorised 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 claimed that it is “clear” that residents’ personal information is being unlawfully shared and/or sold through these apps, endangering their privacy and stealing information “that belongs to the federal government of Pakistan.”

The authority requested that Google “immediately remove all such apps from the Google Play Store and to curb such illegal activities as sharing and selling NADRA’s proprietary, sensitive information, which could have serious security implications for Pakistan as well as breaching residents’ privacy, publishing and promoting 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 claimed that in addition to writing to Google, NADRA had developed an AI system to safeguard citizens‘ personal information.

After taking office in 2021, he allegedly renounced “super access” to citizens’ private information and made it inaccessible to even NADRA’s staff. Additionally, the database authority has reactivated its information security division, which had become dysfunctional following his departure from the organisation in 2014, according to Mr. Malik.