Freeman Cebu Business

Businesses reminded anew to invest on data protection

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has reminded companies in the Philippines to invest on data privacy protection, as this has become a treasured resource, or “currency of power.”

While not an owned personal asset like real estate property or vehicles, data has become a “currency of power,” highly valued and coveted, said NPC executive assistant III Numeriano G. Hernandez, Jr.

While data is the most valuable resource today, Hernandez urged companies to ensure it is processed carefully and responsibly to protect the privacy of their clients and avoid legal problems.

“Data right now is considered the most valuable resource because if you have an understanding of the data you are collecting then you... would know how to make money out of it.”

Hernandez reminded the Filipino corporations, which are yet to strictly implement their respective privacy protection system.

He stressed the need for companies to use data correctly because “we have to remember that the right to informational privacy is a fundamental human right.”

The Commission, he added, has seen a surge in complaints filed for violation of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, from less than 100 complaints when the NPC was established in 2016 to thousands by 2018.

He reported that there are about 8,000 complaints at present, and about 70 percent of the complaints the NPC is hearing involve online lending companies.

To avoid violation of the Data Privacy Act, companies would do well to abide by the privacy by design standards of the ISO, he continued.

“For organizations, when you’re applying new technologies, we advocate using privacy by design as a concept,” he added.

This standard, called ISO/IEC 29100, provides guidelines for embedding adequate cybersecurity standards into all the stages of design and development of consumer goods and services to ensure consumer protection.

“When you apply privacy by design as an ISO standard on any of the technologies that you will be adopting, most likely you’ll be following the mandate of the National Privacy Commission,” Hernandez stressed.

He further reminded business that “when you are adopting technologies, you have to know and understand the data that you have so that you would know how you should protect them, especially if you’re working with sensitive personal information such as medical or health information.”

A violation of privacy is an affront to human dignity and brings risks. “Unauthorized use or disclosure may put data subjects at risk for unwanted publicity, discrimination, identity theft and other acts prejudicial to the data subjects.”

The Commission encourages everyone to be more circumspect in handling data and to cultivate a privacy culture.

“It is always about the ethical use of data and the accountability so that you can balance the benefits that you will get and the harm or the threats that it may have” on your clients.

Recently, Emiliano Librea III, head of advisory services of P&A Grant Thorton called the government to fortify its efforts in implementing the Data Privacy Act (DPA), as Filipinos are yet to fully appreciate the importance of insisting their right to privacy.

Except for multinational companies (MNCs), Librea, whose firm is offering expertise in implementing DPA, noted that fewer Filipino-owned organizations are religiously adopting the law in their system, largely because of cultural background.


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