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Shopee Philippines ordered to compensate mother for privacy violation

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has ruled that Shopee Philippines Inc. must pay a mother, identified as MAF, a compensation of P15,000 for violating the general privacy principle of proportionality.

The complaint arose when MAF discovered that a delivery rider had taken a picture of her child without consent or notification regarding its purpose.

The incident came to light when a seller forwarded MAF the photo as proof of delivery, prompting her to request Shopee to remove her son’s image from their system.

Shopee argued that MAF had agreed to their terms of service when signing up for an account, implying her consent to disclose her child’s personal information. They also explained that their third-party logistics rider attempted to deliver the package directly to MAF, but her unavailability resulted in her son receiving it instead. Shopee further mentioned that MAF had already sought a refund for the order before its delivery, but the seller had already marked it as completed.

To protect both buyers and sellers and for auditing purposes, Shopee had implemented a practice of capturing photos as proof of completion. However, on December 16, 2021, they revised their guidelines to explicitly prohibit delivery riders from taking photos of minors as proof of delivery without written instructions from the buyer.

During the subsequent proceedings, the NPC identified three key issues: whether Shopee was liable for processing personal information for an unauthorized purpose, whether they were liable for unauthorized disclosure, and whether they violated the general privacy principle of proportionality.

The NPC determined that Shopee held responsibility for the actions of their third-party service providers, including the processing of delivery photos.

While the NPC acknowledged Shopee’s legitimate interest in processing the photo as part of their review process for incomplete or incorrect orders, they concluded that Shopee violated the privacy principle of proportionality by taking a photo of MAF’s son when it was unnecessary.

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