The Philippine government has called for a unified front on data protection, with a coalition formed to protect the ‘digital Filipino.’
Data privacy and protection is a top priority for many regional governments, as data breaches become more commonplace. This is especially true in Southeast Asia, with the region becoming a hot target for cyber espionage.
On the back of citizen complaints that more should be done to protect their data, over 2,000 data protection officers (DPO) from major government offices in the Philippines and leading businesses joined the national privacy commission’s (NPC) call to form a united front to strengthen the protection of peoples’ personal data.
“Our common goal of ensuring data privacy in today’s radically changing technology landscape can only be won as a community, where the government and businesses align resources to safeguard the data subject’s interests,” said Raymund Enriquez Liboro, privacy commissioner at the second annual national data privacy conference (NDPC).
The theme of this year’s event was 'Datos ng Pilipino, Protektado ko!', which translated to 'Protecting the Digital Filipino: Accountability, Compliance & Ethics in a Data-Driven Philippines'.
The government aims to encourage institutions and individuals who process personal information to fully embrace their accountability, aim for maximised compliance with the Data Privacy Act of 2012, and observe high ethical standards.
“Upholding the right to data privacy is everybody’s business because ultimately every potential harm to the data subject also puts at risk our commercial and societal interests,” said Liboro. “Unlawful data activities can hurt your customers or constituents, and they can certainly hurt your business, industry, profession or institution.
“If we are to thrive in a data-driven global economy, we have to ace data privacy. There is no better way to face this challenge than by facing it together as co-stakeholders, where we watch each other’s back in a community of trust."
In response to this appeal, executives from various government agencies - including the department of information and communications technology; department of trade and industry; department of justice, and the Philippine national police - symbolically pledged their support for the NPC’s covenant of unity for the protection of the digital Filipino.
They were joined by Laban Konsyumer, an advocacy group assisting consumers on protection against deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable acts and practices.
The covenant is calling for a unified front towards safeguarding the modern Filipino’s right to prosper, protecting their personal data, and promoting their basic rights - all while equipping the public with the knowledge that would enable them to defend themselves against fraudsters and other data privacy violators.
Altogether, these are envisioned to culminate in a "peaceful, secure, and technologically-aware" Philippines.