Longboy, Suzette

SY 2012-2013, Second Semester

R.A 10173 or Data Privacy Act of 2012

In the advent of social networking brought about by never ending technological developments that aim to improve and sustain our fast paced lifestyle, life just seems a little bit more complicated . It is supposed to make everything simple by being connected to everyone or anything, anywhere at anytime with a click or the artificial touch and slide. In the hopes of our government to regulate the cyber world, protect the people and perpetuate integrity of information disposal, the Republic Act 10173 was created.

Republic Act No. (RA 10173) or Data Privacy Act of 2012 was approved by PNOY last August 15, 2012. It is an act protecting individual personal information in Information and Communication System in the Government and Private Sector, creating for this purpose a National Privacy Commission and for other purposes. http://gb-sb.blogspot.com/2012/08/what-is-ra-10173-or-data-privacy-act

It may also be conducted in the following instances: to comply with a legal obligation that the information collector has to obey; to protect the data subject’s vital interests, such as life and health; to respond to the exigencies of a national emergency or public order and security; and to serve the legitimate interests of the entity to which the information has been disclosed as long as no constitutional rights are violated. Such liberality, however, is tempered by the rights that the law gives to data subjects to protect their privacy. They have the right to know whether their personal information “shall be, are being or have been processed.” http://business.inquirer.net/79534/data-privacy-act-of-2012

The Data Privacy Act is expected to strengthen the Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) Industry, by making Philippine legislation in line with International Data Privacy Standards, according to officials from the Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICTO).

“This measure will enable us to replicate our success in call centers in to other BPO segments such as healthcare outsourcing and HR outsourcing, where sensitive data is involved,” DOST-ICTO Executive Director Louis Casambre said in a statement.

RA 10173 also creates the National Privacy Commission under the Office of the President that will enforce the law, receive complaints, set investigations and impose requisite sanctions. It makes the Philippines compliant with international data security standards, putting in place measures to protect and preserve the integrity, security and confidentiality of personal data collected by government and private entities in their operations.

“The new law will help us sustain our momentum as an emerging global leader for shared services, one of the fastest growing segments of the IT-BPO industry. There are indications the market is selecting the Philippines as the preferred destination for this segment,” Alejandro Melchor III Deputy Executive Director for ICT Industry Development added. The local IT-BPO Industry was equally enthused about the signing of the bill. http://www.pia.gov.ph/news/index.php?article=1781346143986.

The issue that got my attention as to the possibility of flaws or problems arising from this Act can be found in reading Section 2 correlated with Section 5;

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is the policy of the State to protect the fundamental human right of privacy, of communication while ensuring free flow of information to promote innovation and growth. The State recognizes the vital role of information and communications technology in nation-building and its inherent obligation to ensure that personal information in information and communications systems in the government and in the private sector are secured and protected.

SEC. 5. Protection Afforded to Journalists and Their Sources. – Nothing in this Act shall be construed as to have amended or repealed the provisions of Republic Act No. 53, which affords the publishers, editors or duly accredited reporters of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation protection from being compelled to reveal the source of any news report or information appearing in said publication which was related in any confidence to such publisher, editor, or reporter.

Section 2 highlights the fundamental right of privacy; and Section 5 that supports the freedom of expression, or of the press, both are enshrined in our Constitution. We are all aware of how journalists operate in this country, the field of Journalism tagged as the “Fourth Estate” holds so much power that sometimes it tramples upon the basic civil liberties. It is undeniable that media controls the society, its influence is astoundingly great that no one can really survive in this times without it. Information can be accessed and disseminated to the media, the person responsible for divulging such information need not be questioned of integrity because of such term “off the record”. This Act does not even apply to: Personal information processed for journalistic, artistic, literary or research purposes, as provided for in Section 4 (d). To my understanding, the main goal is to maintain privacy of data and yet, it can be leaked to the media in a way but they are also protected by same Act.

Sections 12 and 13 laid down the Criteria for Lawful Processing of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information and Privileged Information, to wit;

SEC. 12. Criteria for Lawful Processing of Personal Information. – The processing of personal information shall be permitted only if not otherwise prohibited by law, and when at least one of the following conditions exists:

(a) The data subject has given his or her consent;

(b) The processing of personal information is necessary and is related to the fulfillment of a contract with the data subject or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;

(c) The processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the personal information controller is subject;

(d) The processing is necessary to protect vitally important interests of the data subject, including life and health;

(e) The processing is necessary in order to respond to national emergency, to comply with the requirements of public order and safety, or to fulfill functions of public authority which necessarily includes the processing of personal data for the fulfillment of its mandate; or

(f) The processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the personal information controller or by a third party or parties to whom the data is disclosed, except where such interests are overridden by fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection under the Philippine Constitution.

SEC. 13. Sensitive Personal Information and Privileged Information. – The processing of sensitive personal information and privileged information shall be prohibited, except in the following cases:

(a) The data subject has given his or her consent, specific to the purpose prior to the processing, or in the case of privileged information, all parties to the exchange have given their consent prior to processing;

(b) The processing of the same is provided for by existing laws and regulations: Provided, That such regulatory enactments guarantee the protection of the sensitive personal information and the privileged information: Provided, further, That the consent of the data subjects are not required by law or regulation permitting the processing of the sensitive personal information or the privileged information;

(c) The processing is necessary to protect the life and health of the data subject or another person, and the data subject is not legally or physically able to express his or her consent prior to the processing;

(d) The processing is necessary to achieve the lawful and noncommercial objectives of public organizations and their associations: Provided, That such processing is only confined and related to the bona fide members of these organizations or their associations: Provided, further, That the sensitive personal information are not transferred to third parties: Provided, finally, That consent of the data subject was obtained prior to processing;

(e) The processing is necessary for purposes of medical treatment, is carried out by a medical practitioner or a medical treatment institution, and an adequate level of protection of personal information is ensured; or

(f) The processing concerns such personal information as is necessary for the protection of lawful rights and interests of natural or legal persons in court proceedings, or the establishment, exercise or defense of legal claims, or when provided to government or public authority.

How then should this new law apply to or affect me, personally? I really could care less. Information has a way of evolving, from being a sensitive personal information to a widely known fact in a matter of minutes, thanks to Twitter and other tools you sign up for and share your world in. It can be viewed as voluntary submission or even a waiver on the part of the person providing the information. This Act is fairly new that the question that can be posed is: Whether or not the implementation or execution can really do wonders in the quest for our public officials and citizen’s faithful compliance?

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