July 20, 2011
SENATE COMMITTEE WEIGHS UP IMPLICATIONS OF DATA PRIVACY ACT
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 or the Data Privacy Act of 2011 which has been approved by the Lower House on 3rd reading, as well as the data privacy bills of Senators Santiago and Trillanes.
"We want to strike the right balance by ensuring that the proposed measure does not overreach its intentions to improve data privacy in the country. The policies that protect our information should not be the same policies that stop us from putting this information to good use," said Angara.
Various sectors have been lobbying for the passage of the bill, which is crucial in boosting the competitiveness of the country's information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry as it enhances trust and confidence in electronic commerce and transactions.
Angara, chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), mentioned that new data privacy rules in India have caused uproar in the BPO industry. The Information Technology Act of 2008 requires all companies that operate in India to first obtain written consent through letter, fax or email before they can collect any personal data. Analysts say these rules are more stringent than those prescribed in the United States and European Union, where majority of IT-BPO clients are located.
"We are careful not to constrain the rapid growth of the IT-BPO sector, our sunshine industry. We should learn from India's experience and craft a law that encourages industry expansion while putting in place adequate controls that would protect the public from abuse," explained Angara.
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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