Pedoc, Enrique

SY 2012-2013, Second Semester


The Data Privacy Act of 2012 (RA No.10173): Features and Comments

Since the 1987 Constitution guarantees protection to privacy of information and communication the legislature enacted RA 10173 which will ensure that personal information in information and communications systems in the government and in the private sector are secured and protected. It is clear in Section 2 of the said Law:

“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.”

As to the coverage of the law it provides that:

“SEC. 4. Scope. – This Act applies to the processing of all types of personal information and to any natural and juridical person involved in personal information processing including those personal information controllers and processors who, although not found or established in the Philippines, use equipment that are located in the Philippines, or those who maintain an office, branch or agency in the Philippines subject to the immediately succeeding paragraph: Provided, That the requirements of Section 5 are complied with.”

This Act does not apply to the following:

(a) Information about any individual who is or was an officer or employee of a government institution that relates to the position or functions of the individual, including:

(1) The fact that the individual is or was an officer or employee of the government institution;

(2) The title, business address and office telephone number of the individual;

(3) The classification, salary range and responsibilities of the position held by the individual; and

(4) The name of the individual on a document prepared by the individual in the course of employment with the government;

(b) Information about an individual who is or was performing service under contract for a government institution that relates to the services performed, including the terms of the contract, and the name of the individual given in the course of the performance of those services;

(c) Information relating to any discretionary benefit of a financial nature such as the granting of a license or permit given by the government to an individual, including the name of the individual and the exact nature of the benefit;

(d) Personal information processed for journalistic, artistic, literary or research purposes;

(e) Information necessary in order to carry out the functions of public authority which includes the processing of personal data for the performance by the independent, central monetary authority and law enforcement and regulatory agencies of their constitutionally and statutorily mandated functions. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as to have amended or repealed Republic Act No. 1405, otherwise known as the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act; Republic Act No. 6426, otherwise known as the Foreign Currency Deposit Act; and Republic Act No. 9510, otherwise known as the Credit Information System Act (CISA);

(f) Information necessary for banks and other financial institutions under the jurisdiction of the independent, central monetary authority or Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to comply with Republic Act No. 9510, and Republic Act No. 9160, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act and other applicable laws; and

(g) Personal information originally collected from residents of foreign jurisdictions in accordance with the laws of those foreign jurisdictions, including any applicable data privacy laws, which is being processed in the Philippines.”

Not included in the scope of the Law are personal information processed for journalistic, artistic, literary or research purposes. Other exclusions cover information about government officials and other civil servants as well as information necessary for banks as part of anti-money laundering efforts. The law provides:

“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.”

The law shall have application in and outside the Philippines if the act done or practice engaged in by an entity is one of those enumerated in Section 6 of the Law:

“SEC. 6. Extraterritorial Application. – This Act applies to an act done or practice engaged in and outside of the Philippines by an entity if:

(a) The act, practice or processing relates to personal information about a Philippine citizen or a resident;

(b) The entity has a link with the Philippines, and the entity is processing personal information in the Philippines or even if the processing is outside the Philippines as long as it is about Philippine citizens or residents such as, but not limited to, the following:

(1) A contract is entered in the Philippines;

(2) A juridical entity unincorporated in the Philippines but has central management and control in the country; and

(3) An entity that has a branch, agency, office or subsidiary in the Philippines and the parent or affiliate of the Philippine entity has access to personal information; and

(c) The entity has other links in the Philippines such as, but not limited to:

(1) The entity carries on business in the Philippines; and

(2) The personal information was collected or held by an entity in the Philippines.”

Under Section 11, the General Data Privacy Principles of the law the processing of personal information shall be allowed only after compliance with the requirements of the Act and other laws allowing disclosure of information to the public and adherence to the principles of transparency, legitimate purpose and proportionality. It is provided that personal information must, be:

(a) Collected for specified and legitimate purposes determined and declared before, or as soon as reasonably practicable after collection, and later processed in a way compatible with such declared, specified and legitimate purposes only;

(b) Processed fairly and lawfully;

(c) Accurate, relevant and, where necessary for purposes for which it is to be used the processing of personal information, kept up to date; inaccurate or incomplete data must be rectified, supplemented, destroyed or their further processing restricted;

(d) Adequate and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are collected and processed;

(e) Retained only for as long as necessary for the fulfillment of the purposes for which the data was obtained or for the establishment, exercise or defense of legal claims, or for legitimate business purposes, or as provided by law; and

(f) Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the data were collected and processed: Provided, That personal information collected for other purposes may lie processed for historical, statistical or scientific purposes, and in cases laid down in law may be stored for longer periods: Provided, further, That adequate safeguards are guaranteed by said laws authorizing their processing.

The personal information controller must ensure implementation of personal information processing principles set out herein.”

The law provides certain criteria for lawful processing of personal information:

“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.

SEC. 14. Subcontract of Personal Information. – A personal information controller may subcontract the processing of personal information: Provided, That the personal information controller shall be responsible for ensuring that proper safeguards are in place to ensure the confidentiality of the personal information processed, prevent its use for unauthorized purposes, and generally, comply with the requirements of this Act and other laws for processing of personal information. The personal information processor shall comply with all the requirements of this Act and other applicable laws.

SEC. 15. Extension of Privileged Communication. – Personal information controllers may invoke the principle of privileged communication over privileged information that they lawfully control or process. Subject to existing laws and regulations, any evidence gathered on privileged information is inadmissible.”

The Law enumerated certain rights of the Data Subject:

“SEC. 16. Rights of the Data Subject. – The data subject is entitled to:

(a) Be informed whether personal information pertaining to him or her shall be, are being or have been processed;

(b) Be furnished the information indicated hereunder before the entry of his or her personal information into the processing system of the personal information controller, or at the next practical opportunity:

(1) Description of the personal information to be entered into the system;

(2) Purposes for which they are being or are to be processed;

(3) Scope and method of the personal information processing;

(4) The recipients or classes of recipients to whom they are or may be disclosed;

(5) Methods utilized for automated access, if the same is allowed by the data subject, and the extent to which such access is authorized;

(6) The identity and contact details of the personal information controller or its representative;

(7) The period for which the information will be stored; and

(8) The existence of their rights, i.e., to access, correction, as well as the right to lodge a complaint before the Commission.
Any information supplied or declaration made to the data subject on these matters shall not be amended without prior notification of data subject: Provided, That the notification under subsection (b) shall not apply should the personal information be needed pursuant to a subpoena or when the collection and processing are for obvious purposes, including when it is necessary for the performance of or in relation to a contract or service or when necessary or desirable in the context of an employer-employee relationship, between the collector and the data subject, or when the information is being collected and processed as a result of legal obligation;

(c) Reasonable access to, upon demand, the following:

(1) Contents of his or her personal information that were processed;

(2) Sources from which personal information were obtained;

(3) Names and addresses of recipients of the personal information;

(4) Manner by which such data were processed;

(5) Reasons for the disclosure of the personal information to recipients;

(6) Information on automated processes where the data will or likely to be made as the sole basis for any decision significantly affecting or will affect the data subject;

(7) Date when his or her personal information concerning the data subject were last accessed and modified; and

(8) The designation, or name or identity and address of the personal information controller;

(d) Dispute the inaccuracy or error in the personal information and have the personal information controller correct it immediately and accordingly, unless the request is vexatious or otherwise unreasonable. If the personal information have been corrected, the personal information controller shall ensure the accessibility of both the new and the retracted information and the simultaneous receipt of the new and the retracted information by recipients thereof: Provided, That the third parties who have previously received such processed personal information shall he informed of its inaccuracy and its rectification upon reasonable request of the data subject;

(e) Suspend, withdraw or order the blocking, removal or destruction of his or her personal information from the personal information controller’s filing system upon discovery and substantial proof that the personal information are incomplete, outdated, false, unlawfully obtained, used for unauthorized purposes or are no longer necessary for the purposes for which they were collected. In this case, the personal information controller may notify third parties who have previously received such processed personal information; and

(f) Be indemnified for any damages sustained due to such inaccurate, incomplete, outdated, false, unlawfully obtained or unauthorized use of personal information.

SEC. 17. Transmissibility of Rights of the Data Subject. – The lawful heirs and assigns of the data subject may invoke the rights of the data subject for, which he or she is an heir or assignee at any time after the death of the data subject or when the data subject is incapacitated or incapable of exercising the rights as enumerated in the immediately preceding section.

SEC. 18. Right to Data Portability. – The data subject shall have the right, where personal information is processed by electronic means and in a structured and commonly used format, to obtain from the personal information controller a copy of data undergoing processing in an electronic or structured format, which is commonly used and allows for further use by the data subject. The Commission may specify the electronic format referred to above, as well as the technical standards, modalities and procedures for their transfer.

SEC. 19. Non-Applicability. – The immediately preceding sections are not applicable if the processed personal information are used only for the needs of scientific and statistical research and, on the basis of such, no activities are carried out and no decisions are taken regarding the data subject: Provided, That the personal information shall be held under strict confidentiality and shall be used only for the declared purpose. Likewise, the immediately preceding sections are not applicable to processing of personal information gathered for the purpose of investigations in relation to any criminal, administrative or tax liabilities of a data subject.”

SEC. 20. Security of Personal Information. – (a) The personal information controller must implement reasonable and appropriate organizational, physical and technical measures intended for the protection of personal information against any accidental or unlawful destruction, alteration and disclosure, as well as against any other unlawful processing.

As to the penalties for any violation of the Act:

“SEC. 25. Unauthorized Processing of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information. – (a) The unauthorized processing of personal information shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (Php2,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who process personal information without the consent of the data subject, or without being authorized under this Act or any existing law.

(b) The unauthorized processing of personal sensitive information shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from three (3) years to six (6) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Four million pesos (Php4,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who process personal information without the consent of the data subject, or without being authorized under this Act or any existing law.

SEC. 26. Accessing Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information Due to Negligence. – (a) Accessing personal information due to negligence shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (Php2,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who, due to negligence, provided access to personal information without being authorized under this Act or any existing law.

(b) Accessing sensitive personal information due to negligence shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from three (3) years to six (6) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Four million pesos (Php4,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who, due to negligence, provided access to personal information without being authorized under this Act or any existing law.

SEC. 27. Improper Disposal of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information. – (a) The improper disposal of personal information shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from six (6) months to two (2) years and a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (Php100,000.00) but not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who knowingly or negligently dispose, discard or abandon the personal information of an individual in an area accessible to the public or has otherwise placed the personal information of an individual in its container for trash collection.

b) The improper disposal of sensitive personal information shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (Php100,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who knowingly or negligently dispose, discard or abandon the personal information of an individual in an area accessible to the public or has otherwise placed the personal information of an individual in its container for trash collection.

SEC. 28. Processing of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information for Unauthorized Purposes. – The processing of personal information for unauthorized purposes shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) year and six (6) months to five (5) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons processing personal information for purposes not authorized by the data subject, or otherwise authorized under this Act or under existing laws.
The processing of sensitive personal information for unauthorized purposes shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from two (2) years to seven (7) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (Php2,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons processing sensitive personal information for purposes not authorized by the data subject, or otherwise authorized under this Act or under existing laws.

SEC. 29. Unauthorized Access or Intentional Breach. – The penalty of imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (Php2,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who knowingly and unlawfully, or violating data confidentiality and security data systems, breaks in any way into any system where personal and sensitive personal information is stored.

SEC. 30. Concealment of Security Breaches Involving Sensitive Personal Information. – The penalty of imprisonment of one (1) year and six (6) months to five (5) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who, after having knowledge of a security breach and of the obligation to notify the Commission pursuant to Section 20(f), intentionally or by omission conceals the fact of such security breach.

SEC. 31. Malicious Disclosure. – Any personal information controller or personal information processor or any of its officials, employees or agents, who, with malice or in bad faith, discloses unwarranted or false information relative to any personal information or personal sensitive information obtained by him or her, shall be subject to imprisonment ranging from one (1) year and six (6) months to five (5) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00).

SEC. 32. Unauthorized Disclosure. – (a) Any personal information controller or personal information processor or any of its officials, employees or agents, who discloses to a third party personal information not covered by the immediately preceding section without the consent of the data subject, shall he subject to imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00).

(b) Any personal information controller or personal information processor or any of its officials, employees or agents, who discloses to a third party sensitive personal information not covered by the immediately preceding section without the consent of the data subject, shall be subject to imprisonment ranging from three (3) years to five (5) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (Php2,000,000.00).

SEC. 33. Combination or Series of Acts. – Any combination or series of acts as defined in Sections 25 to 32 shall make the person subject to imprisonment ranging from three (3) years to six (6) years and a fine of not less than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00) but not more than Five million pesos (Php5,000,000.00).

SEC. 34. Extent of Liability. – If the offender is a corporation, partnership or any juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the responsible officers, as the case may be, who participated in, or by their gross negligence, allowed the commission of the crime. If the offender is a juridical person, the court may suspend or revoke any of its rights under this Act. If the offender is an alien, he or she shall, in addition to the penalties herein prescribed, be deported without further proceedings after serving the penalties prescribed. If the offender is a public official or employee and lie or she is found guilty of acts penalized under Sections 27 and 28 of this Act, he or she shall, in addition to the penalties prescribed herein, suffer perpetual or temporary absolute disqualification from office, as the case may be.

SEC. 35. Large-Scale. – The maximum penalty in the scale of penalties respectively provided for the preceding offenses shall be imposed when the personal information of at least one hundred (100) persons is harmed, affected or involved as the result of the above mentioned actions.
SEC. 36. Offense Committed by Public Officer. – When the offender or the person responsible for the offense is a public officer as defined in the Administrative Code of the Philippines in the exercise of his or her duties, an accessory penalty consisting in the disqualification to occupy public office for a term double the term of criminal penalty imposed shall he applied.

Section 7 of the Act provides that The National Privacy Commission will administer and implement the provisions of this Act and to monitor and ensure compliance of the country with International Standard sets for data protection.

The National Privacy Commission will be led by a commissioner with two deputy commissioners to monitor and ensure compliance of the country with international standards set for data protection. The new body will be supported by a secretariat and will be allotted P20 million to fulfill its functions.
The law shall protect the integrity and confidentiality of personal data shared online or other information and communication technology (ICT) systems. It established the National Privacy Commission to ensure the protection of digital information in the government and the private sector. The law requires both the public and private institutions to comply with international data security standards while providing safeguards to protect press freedom.

It is believed that Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry by making it in line with International Standards of Privacy protection will benefit the most in the passing of the law.

In general, the law is good. Should it be found to be ineffective, there is always a way for improvement…our legislators may opt for its amendment.


Senate Bill No. 3327 VS. RA 10175?

The Senate Bill No. 3327 otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF) is a bill introduced by Senator Mirriam Santiago which aimed to replace the controversial RA 10175 or the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012 which, according to different sectors of our society, is defective and suffering from overbreadth and vagueness particularly on its provisions on internet libel. These sectors are the software designers, IT specialists, academics, bloggers, engineers, lawyers and human rights advocates, who are also called concerned netizens. The contentious law is now under the 120 days Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. It said to be defective because it violative of the constitutional and civil rights of our people.

Among others, the pertinent contentious provisions of RA 10175 are: (a) online libel in Section 4 (c) (4); (b) imprisonment for ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’can be done by aiding or abetting in the commission cybercrimes in Sections 5; (c) providing higher penalties for all crimes in Section 6; (d) the power authorities to collect data without court warrant in Section 12; (e) the power of the government to destroy data or gadgets in Section 15; and (f) the online censorship in Section 19.

The most controversial provision of RA 10175 is the provision for the internet libel. Almost all sectors of our society reacted and felt privacy threat on it.

From the title of the bill, Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, it provides for certain substantial internet rights and freedom which is in accordance with the constitutional guarantee of free expression, privacy and due process. (Section 3 (1), Bill of Rights, the 1987 Philippine Constitution).

It is worthy to note that according to the new bill, malice is an essential element of internet libel. In fact, it treats libel as a civil liability.

The new bill aims to protect people’s rights against illegal searches and seizures by providing strict guidelines for any collection of any data, including the securing of court warrants, obligating notification, and limiting seizure of data and excluding physical property.

In the crafting of all laws, basic is to ensure the government protection for all the people. The data which will be collected from them should be protected thus the rights of the people to privacy will also be protected.

If in RA 10175 the government has the right to block or prohibit a particular website or network found to have violated the law, under the new bill this cannot be done. Prior court order must be secured first before the government could lawfully undertake such activity.

The new bill prohibits a situation to put any person in double jeopardy unlike in RA 10175.

Considering the foregoing and other good provisions of the new bill, RA 10175 should be amended and replaced by Senate Bill No. 3327.

It is true that there are numerous acts which are considered criminal and offensive to the rights of the citizens can be found in the internet thus we need a law to protect us from the said evils. However, the law should be sound and clear affording protection to the people and the government as well.

The author believed that Senate Bill No. 3327 contains good provisions and has good intentions in favor of our people. These provisions and good intentions should be considered by our honorable lawmakers. However, before they act on the said bill they should wait until the expiration of the 120-day TRO by the Supreme Court so that some other provisions which may be declared by the high court to be unconstitutional might be included in the subsequent amendment or repeal of RA 10175.

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