Privacy commission boosts privacy sweep of apps, websites in public, private sectors

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2019 02:49 PM

MANILA - The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has intensified its privacy sweep on mobile applications and websites used by private and public institutions as more businesses turn to online applications and solutions, the agency's chief said Saturday.

The government's privacy watchdog began reviewing the privacy setups of online banking apps last October, and is now probing government and school apps and websites, NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro told ABS-CBN News.

"We look at terms and conditions and see if it conforms to criteria for a meaningful and lawful consent," he said.

All online applications must honor the users' rights and "control over personal data," he said.

"Opting out should be as easy as opting in," the NPC chief said.

"You [should] have that right to withdraw the permission that you've given and demand that they erase anything that they have about you," he said.

The Commission also checks if applications underwent impact assessments, Liboro said.

"If you have a technology that could be intrusive, you can only know the impact of this through scientific method," he said.

"When something goes wrong and they don't have any impact assessment, we dig deeper. Sino ba ang data protection officer niyan? 'Yung walang data protection officer red flag na sakin 'yun," he said,

(Who is their data protection officer? Those that don't have data protection officers raise red flags.)

Under the Data Privacy Act of 2012, malicious or unauthorized disclosure of user information is punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years and fines between P500,000 and P1 million.

Liboro refused to disclose how many websites and applications are under scrutiny, saying the results will be released soon, without giving a specific date.

More business establishments have been mounting cashless payment schemes but fewer Filipinos engaged in e-payments in the third quarter of 2018, a Bangko Sentral study showed.

The number of electronic payment agents rose 142.8 percent to 63,195, data from the Bangko Sentral's Financial Inclusion Survey showed.

But the number of e-payment accounts in the Philippines dropped to 8.6 million, from 11.4 million in the previous year, it said.