August 23, 2012
STATEMENT ON THE PASSAGE OF DATA PRIVACY ACT
The President has signed the Data Privacy Act into law as Republic Act No. 10173. The President's approval is an unequivocal sign that the country is taking the necessary actions to become a functioning knowledge-based, ICT-driven economy.
All public and private enterprises are now mandated to safeguard the confidentiality and integrity of personal information collected in the course of their operations.
This will not only boost the confidence of potential investors in the country's booming Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry, but also the trust of ordinary citizens in our e-governance initiatives.
Of course, the enactment of the law is only the first step. The greater challenge lies in its implementation and its long-term enforcement. Privacy and IT experts will have to be trained. Implementing rules and regulations will have to be crafted and promulgated. Amendments to the bill may even be necessary later on to meaningfully balance the free flow of information against every person's right to privacy.
However, the Data Privacy Act is only one of a triumvirate of measures we proposed to usher in an IT revolution in the country.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act will have to be enacted, as we still lack a legal framework for the detection, apprehension, and prosecution of such Internet-related crimes as hacking, identity theft, phishing, spamming, and child pornography.
A Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) must be created to allow government to efficiently allocate human and financial resources necessary for the integration of ICT in the more efficient delivery of social services.
Taken together, these three measures will place our country in a very good position to chart its own path in this increasingly digital world.
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