June 9, 2012
DATA PRIVACY ACT APPROVED, PRESS FREEDOM PROTECTED
Senator Edgardo J. Angara welcomed the approval of the Data Privacy Act by the bicameral committee before the Congressional session ended this week, noting that more safeguards were put in place to protect press freedom.
Earlier, various media organizations protested previous versions of the bill, citing certain provisions that could be used to impose stiff penalties on journalists for "breaches of confidentiality."
"No less than our Constitution upholds press freedom and the media's function of responsible reporting," explained Angara, Chair of Senate Committee on Science and Technology. "So the bicam committee quickly rectified any ambiguity in the bill that may be leveraged to put a muzzle on our journalists, producers or any of our media practitioners."
Section 4 of the approved Data Privacy Act outlines exclusions to the scope of the measure, which include "Personal information processed for journalistic, artistic, literary, or research purposes."
Section 5 of the measure provides further protection to the media by stating that no provision in the Data Privacy Act can be interpreted as to have amended or appealed Republic Act no. 53, which exempts publishers, editors or reporters of any publication from revealing their sources of information.
Angara, who is also Chair of the Senate Committee on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), underscored that once signed into law, the measure will boost confidence in the both country's booming Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry and growing e-governance initiatives.
"The bill makes it mandatory for all data collectors--whether public or private--to protect the security, integrity and confidentiality of all the personal information they collect. By doing this, we help usher in a truly knowledge-driven economy," explained the veteran legislator.
He explained that once signed into law, the country's data privacy standards will be at par with the global community as outlined by the EU and the APEC.
"We refined the measure further so that it cannot be used to curtail the flow of information that may be of public interest, without infringing on every person's right to privacy, which is also underpinned by our Constitution," stressed Angara.
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