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Experts urge increased public awareness of data privacy rights

Experts urged the public on Friday to be more aware of their data privacy rights as people grow more immersed in the information and data age.

During a conference on data privacy called, “Panopticon 2019,” Ivy Patdu, the deputy privacy commissioner of National Privacy Commission, said, “Information today is the new currency of power…We understand data privacy but how do we translate it in our daily lives?”

Data privacy has garnered attention over the years since the implementation of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, but more has yet to be done with regards to its awareness and strengthening.

Discussions on the issue has centered heavily on Metro Manila and has yet to be developed in other regions.

“There are numerous factors contributing to this situation,” Elpidio Peria, the Programme Specialist of ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity and spoke for the people . “In other sectors, the issue is seen as very technical. Businessmen say, ‘kikita ba tayo diyan?’ It doesn’t appear to affect their bottomline.”

Frederick Goddard from the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, said the way to spread awareness is to educate the educators. According to Goddard, only two schools in Davao have clear privacy policies on their websites, one of which is the Ateneo de Davao University.

In the health sector, there are no obvious privacy policies on their websites with exception to Davao Doctors Hospital that has a clear and established policy. Multinational call centers and other companies have high level of compliance. The local call centers, however do not.

Goddard said, "Because of the martial law in Mindanao, there has been a collection of lists, addresses, information…we also have to consider the rights of the indigenous people, and how do we collect their data and protect their privacy,"

“The less powerful the community feels, the more they don’t feel they have power over their data, so when someone comes in and asks for it, they readily give it up. Data doesn’t just have to be economic capabilities, but something they can control,” he added.

Warren Tombong, the Risk Manager from Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., said, “The National Privacy Commission is more on the web but there are still people who still depend on traditional media.”

“People need to go there, whether through barangays to translate it through their language. If we speak in broad and technical terms, they won’t understand. We need to translate it through their level, their language,” he added.

In terms of data protection when it comes to the academic setting, Danny Cheng, the Data Protection Officer (DPO) of De La Salle University, urged the schools to make this a priority.

He said, “The reputation of the school is the most valuable asset. If we want to protect the reputation, we have to protect data privacy.”

"Data privacy is not just something we have to comply to but a strategic resource for security," DPO of University of the Philippines Diliman Elson Manahan said. "It doesn't hold you back but protects you with what you do."

Al Alegre, consultant of the Commission of Human Rights, said, "Privacy rights are human rights. What applies offline, applies online, but it's not that simple...the milieu is changing."

To further promote safeguards to data privacy policies, CHR has been advocating for the implementation of the Philippine Declaration on Internet Rights and Principles. —LDF, GMA News

Tags: dataprivacy