Senate approves Data Privacy Act on 3rd reading


Posted at Mar 20 2012 01:36 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2012 09:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate on Tuesday passed the Data Privacy Act (Senate Bill No. 2965) on third and final reading.

The bill, authored by Sen. Edgardo Angara, mandates public and private entities to protect and preserve the integrity, security and confidentiality of personal data collected in its operations. It emphasizes the importance of compliying with international data security standards.

"We should lay down the basis for companies to be responsible in maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of digital data," Angara said, in a statement.

The Data Privacy Act is also expected to allay concerns over the security of personal data being handled by employees of business process outsourcing companies in the Philippines.

Angara said the bill is based on the Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and Council, which is said to be the most widely adopted data privacy regime. This directive prohibits companies in the European Union from outsourcing the processing of private information to countries that do not follow particular data protection standards.

Under the Data Privacy Act, a National Privacy Commission will be established toimplement and enforce the regulations of the bill.

"Generally, the commission will be mandated to enforce policies that balance the right of the private person to privacy with the need to speed up the utilization of the Internet," Angara said.

"By establishing such a policy framework, we actually protect Internet freedoms while making sure the Web remains safe. 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."

The Senator said that once the bill is passed into law, it will attract more investors in the information technology and BPO industry in the Philippines.

Earlier, the Senate passed two other bills sponsored by Angara: the Cybercrime Prevention Act (SBN 2796) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology Bill (SBN 50).

Angara expressed hope that once the Data Privacy Act is passed into law, the IT-BPO industry can achieve projections of revenue increase from $9 billion in 2011 to $25 billion by 2016. The industry can also employ as much as 4 million workers in the next four years.