Lacson: How to cope with cyber and social networking threats (Part 1: Fast Facts about the Data Privacy Act)


IT SEEMS that the world we live in has become more and more dangerous as time passes by. Decades ago, we only worried about our physical security; however, we also have to put in mind our own safety in the ever pervasive cyber world that we highly enjoy now.

With the advent of the new technology brought by the internet, various cybercrimes such as identity theft, cyber bullying, online fraud, hacking, and a lot more have emerged and have confronted the netizens.

Recently, I received a marketing call offering me a new postpaid plan.

Just like an ordinary citizen, I was overwhelmed with excitement and got enticed with the exciting and irresistible offers that come with the availment being offered. The sales agent asked to verify my pertinent information such as my birthdate, address, and other important personal details.

Initially, I had no hint or worry in giving away these data, but as we progressed to finalize the transaction, she finally asked for the ID number which is needed to verify the delivery of the phone. In an instant, I grew frantic about it and decided to cancel the transaction.

In the absence of foolproof laws and mechanisms to monitor, control, as well as apprehend violators of these new age offenses, it is still best to take precaution and avoid falling prey to these crimes. As they say, prevention is still the best cure. Republic Act 10173 or commonly known as the Data Privacy Act or DPA assures “the free flow of information and growth” while protecting the users’ fundamental rights to privacy. For most people who are not yet aware of this Act, here are the fast facts that you need to know for you to know your rights to privacy.

Firstly, the DPA applies to anyone who processes personal data in both the government and private sector. RA 10173 provides the standards that regulate the collection, handling, and disposal of all personal information obtained during transactions when availing services. DPA protects the right of anyone for his or her personal data to be protected from third parties or any form of misuse whether internally or externally. It also mandates the companies and government agencies to be legally responsible in keeping all the personal data obtained safe and secure.

In compliance to the DPA, all personal data must be collected with the proper consent given the clear legitimate reasons for the collection. Consequently, once the data is gathered, it should be used only for its intended purposes, and should be protected and secured from collection to its proper disposal. It should be noted that access by the unauthorized parties is strictly prohibited, and any violation of this provision is tantamount to the corresponding penalties and legal accountabilities as provided by the law.

To ensure conformity to the provisions of the DPA, all organizations in the government and private sectors must designate a Data Protection Officer which is responsible to implement and monitor privacy programs and data policies that regulate the handling of information. At the same time, the DPO is also in charge of routine assessments to ensure quality data protection and a proper procedure for breach notification to its customers.

Finally, non-compliance to the DPA such as improper and/or unauthorized processing, handling or disposal of personal information can be penalized by imprisonment of up to six years and a hefty fine of P500,000.

In conclusion, it is important for people to know that they have the right to privacy, and they can always choose to protect their personal information and not disclose these particularly in instances that they think it is not really necessary for them to divulge information personally, through the phone, as well as online.


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