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Cybersafe November 03, 2019

Data Privacy in the Philippines: Explained

The simplest definition of data privacy is that it is the branch of data security concerned about the proper handling of data. Whether or not you consent to give your data when it is requested of you, how this data is stored and protected, how you can access and update data – these are all facets of data privacy.


Why does data privacy matter? Think back on instances where you sign away your name and contact details to strangers: it could be when you’re writing in a logbook somewhere, or when you sign-up for a new website. We feed these things information that we normally wouldn’t give to strangers who ask for it on the street, such as our contact numbers and addresses.


Rarely do we even wonder what that data is for, and what happens to it after. This is why the Data Privacy Act of 2012 is important. The Data Privacy Act (DPA) or Republic Act 10173 holds companies accountable for the data they encounter – whether or not these are for customers, or even the profiles of their employees.


Policies on how companies protect data from third parties, like hackers, are part of the DPA. According to this Act, each company with at least 250 employees or who can access the data of at least 1,000 people are required to comply with the act. These companies have to appoint a Data Protection Officer who will assess the company, create and implement privacy policies, and report breaches when they happen.


The DPA’s implementation falls under the jurisdiction of the National Privacy Commission (NPC), which “protects individual personal information and upholds the right to privacy by regulating the processing of personal information.” The NPC has no easy task in protecting personal and sensitive information, but at least there are laws in place that can help safeguard data.


However, basic precautions and continuous vigilance must always come from the source: ourselves.


This article is part of the Banker’s Association of the Philippines’ (BAP) #CyberSafe campaign, where the BAP aims to promote awareness in cybersecurity. The campaign will upload new posts tackling common web security questions and issues on Wednesdays and Sundays every week.


For more content on cybersecurity, visit the BAP Official YouTube channel.