Data Privacy Bill Hurdles 2nd Reading

The country’s booming BPO sector has something to look forward to this year as the House of Representatives passed last week on second reading the proposed Data Privacy Act, which seeks to govern and establish fair practices in the collection and use of personal details stashed in the computer systems of the private sector and the government. The outsourcing sector is the one of the primary backers of the proposed law since a huge number of confidential data is processed in the country from other countries, particularly the US. The House action came shortly after the committee on information and communications technology, along with the committee on government reorganization, endorsed the bill authored chiefly by representatives Roman Romulo of Pasig City and Susan Yap of Tarlac.

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Philippines’ Senator Angara Says Bill Needs To Strike Right Balance

The country’s data privacy policy should protect the personal information of users without bogging down the ease of access that companies need to efficiently operate, a top lawmaker said on Wednesday. Senator Edgardo J. Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology (S&T), made the statement following the Technical Working Group (TWG) held for the Data Privacy Act of 2011. Tackled during the TWG was House Bill 4115/Data Privacy Act of 2011 which has been approved by the Lower House on third reading, as well as the data privacy bills of Senators MirianDefensor-Santiago and Antonio Trillanes.

The current draft of the Data Privacy Act incorporates key principles laid out in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Privacy Framework. The framework promotes a flexible approach to data privacy minus needless barriers to information flows.

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Data Protection Bill Introduced In Senate

After experiencing a major data breach in 2010, the Philippines is working hard to prevent future events with the introduction of a data protection bill. The Data Privacy Act is one of three ICT (information and communications technology) measures supported and demanded by the information technology and business process outsourcing industry. This bill, sponsored by Senator Edgardo J. Angara, chair of the Senate committee on Science and Technology, follows the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Privacy Framework, which includes harm prevention notice and data collection limits and provides flexibility in implementation.

“By defining who are accountable whenever breaches occur, the Data Privacy Act pushes the private and public sectors to keep their information systems secure,” Angara said. “…This measure ensures that the ICT environment we seek to roll out will be conducive for both business and government.”

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Senate Approves Data Privacy Act on 3rd Reading

The Senate has passed the Data Privacy Act. The bill is based on European Directive 95/46/EC and requires certain data security standards in addition to provisions on the handling of data by business process outsourcers (BPOs). It mandates public and private entities to protect and preserve the integrity, security and confidentiality of personal data collected in its operations and emphasizes the importance of complying with international data security standards. The bill’s author, Sen. Edgardo Angara, feels it will help spur investment in the Philippines BPO and IT sectors. Under the Act, a National Privacy Commission will be established to implement and enforce the regulations of the bill. “By establishing such a policy framework, we actually protect Internet freedoms while making sure the Web remains safe, “Angara said. “In this way, we reduce the risk for true harm to be inflicted and heighten the opportunity for our digital space to be a truly productive and collaborative venue.”

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Senate Ratifies Data Privacy Act Bicameral Report

The Philippines Senate has ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the Data Privacy Act, which mandates public and private entities to protect and preserve the integrity, security and confidentiality of personal data collected in its operations. The Senate approved the Data Privacy Act under Senate Bill No. 2965, underscoring the importance of requiring both the public and private institutions to comply with international data security standards. Based on the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC, the act would also establish a National Privacy Commission to implement and enforce the bill’s provisions. Journalists have criticized portions of the legislation because of strong penalties around “leaked” information. Once passed into law, the bill adhering to rigorous international principles and standards will attract investors in the Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry in the Philippines.

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Philippine Data Privacy Law is Signed into Law

On August 15, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III signed into law the Data Privacy Act of 2012, formally titled “An Act Protecting Individual Personal Information in Information and Communications Systems in the Government and the Private Sector, Creating for this Purpose a National Privacy Commission, and for Other Purposes”. The Act is modeled after the EU Data Protection Directive and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Privacy Framework. The Act applies to “the processing of all types of personal information” and to any person, including both government and private-sector entities, “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.” The Act contains provisions that govern the processing of personal information, the rights of data, and the security of personal information and sets forth a detailed schedule of penalties for violations of the Act, which include both imprisonment and fines.

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BPO Companies More Bullish After Signing of Data Privacy Law

The Business Processing Association of the Philippines, the umbrella association of the information technology-business process outsourcing industry in the country, said the signing of the Data Privacy Act by Malacañang into law was an important first step to increase confidence among foreign investors.

President Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10173 on Aug. 15, which requires the protection and preservation of personal data collected by public agencies and private organizations.

Benedict Hernandez, BPAP president and chief executive, said the law “brings the Philippines to international standards of privacy protection.”

The act is based on standards set by the European Parliament and is aligned with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Information Privacy Framework. The Data Privacy Act requires the creation of a National Privacy Commission under the Transportation Department. Angara said the implementation of the law would require the training of experts and development of rules and regulations.

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Philippines Background Checks More Important than Ever

As the world’s economy keeps scaring people through a boomerang effect that began three years ago and some economist predict will last seven more, scams in the Philippines and the entire Asian region seem to be evolving. Criminals and internet scams are not cyclical, they in fact do quite well in an economic downturn. Business scams are often the highest volume in recessions, while romance scams and online dating scams seem to stay steady regardless of the economy. Given the ongoing uncertainly and trouble in the global economy, business fraud levels are very high, and the Philippines remains a high risk area, and for investigators considering conducting business or starting a new relationship in this island nation, a professional background check is key.

Philippine scammers are becoming more sophisticated and experienced criminals can be far more devastating than the average internet scammer. Criminal groups conducting online business fraud and scams can now be organized and highly effective, with management or bosses coordinating the scams even from other countries, such as Malaysia or Hong Kong. The NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) in Manila says business fraud is a greater risk than ever for foreign firms looking to invest in the Philippines and Malaysia. Joint law enforcement agencies between the two countries have had some success, but when one network gets shut down, another quickly rises.

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