NPC draws line between invoking data privacy law and obeying gov’t subpoena

Maris Federez   •   October 27, 2021   •   238

MANILA, Philippines — The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has clarified that no one must use the Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 as an excuse to withhold information in legal proceedings.

The NPC made the clarification amid the ongoing Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the alleged anomalous government transaction with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

In a statement, NPC Commissioner Raymond Liboro said that the law does not prohibit anyone to release personal information in compliance with a subpoena issued by any government investigating body.

“We would like to reiterate that the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA) does not prohibit the disclosure of personal or sensitive personal information (collectively, personal data) when necessary for purposes of complying with validly issued subpoenas by government investigating bodies,” Liboro said.

The statement added that while the NPC aims to protect a person’s data privacy rights, there are provisions in the law that recognizes the processing of personal information when used in legal proceedings.

“While we advocate for the protection of the right to data privacy of data subjects, there are provisions in the law that recognizes the processing of personal information when necessary for compliance with a legal obligation or to fulfill functions of public authorities,” he said.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon noted the NPC’s clarification on the matter.

“Liboro’s initiative and insights are greatly appreciated by the Blue Ribbon Committee and, if I may speak for the whole, by the Senate,” Gordons said.

It can be recalled that the Blue Ribbon cited Pharmally executives Mohit and Twinkle Dargani for contempt for not allowing the release of sourced documents to the committee. The Senate panel subsequently ordered the detention of the two.

The Dargani siblings had invoked the Data Privacy Law, as well as the Bank Secrecy Code and the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines on why they cannot provide the Senate committee with the company’s financial documents. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Michael Yang petition before SC, a desperate move — Gordon

Maris Federez   •   November 26, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairperson Richard Gordon believes that the decision of former presidential economic adviser, Michael Yang to file a petition before the Supreme Court is a desperate move following the arrest of some officials of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

In a statement released Friday (November 26), Gordon said Yang had been caught lying several times in front of the lawmakers in the committee hearings, and that he is now afraid to go out after the arrest of Pharmally executives Linconn Ong, Mohit Dargani, and Twinkle Dargani.

“Maraming beses nang nagsinungaling si Michael Yang sa Senado. Lumalabas na siya’y takot ngayon lumabas ng kanyang tahanan matapos mahuli ang mga kasamahan sa negosyong sina Linconn Ong, at magkapatid na Mojit at Twinkle Dargani,” Gordon said.

The senator also said that Yang’s move is out of desperation to circumvent Blue Ribbon’s investigation on the questionable government procurement of medical supplies from Pharmally.

“Ang pagsampa niya ng kaso sa Korte Suprema ay bahagi ng desperadong tangkang pagpapa-ikot sa Senate Blue Ribbon Committee sa isinasagawa nitong imbestigasyon sa katiwaliang naganap sa gitna ng pandemya,” he said.

Gordon insists that the Blue Ribbon only defends the rights of Filipinos which weigh far greater than the privilege enjoyed by foreigners who live in lies.

“Ipinagtatanggol ng Komite ang karapatan ng mga taumbayan, na higit mas matimbang kaysa sa pribilehiyo ng isang banyagang nabubuhay sa kasinungalingan,” Gordon said.

Yang’s lawyer, Atty. Raymond Fortun earlier said his client will attend the Blue Ribbon Committee’s 15th hearing on the Pharmally issue.

However, Fortun said that Yang wasn’t able to attend the hearing due to an illness. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Cyberattack on S&R compromised 22,000 data subjects – NPC

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The National Privacy Commission (NPC) reported that some 22,000 data subjects were affected in the ransomware attack on S&R Membership Shopping.

In a statement, the NPC said it has received an initial breach notification report on November 15, 2021, 4:47 PM, from S&R Membership Shopping in relation to a cyber-attack that may have compromised its members’ contact information.

The NPC said the firm discovered the cyberattack incident on November 14, 2021.

“The company has then submitted an supplemental breach report today, November 24, 2021, confirming that the subject of the ransomware attack was the S&R membership system affecting twenty-two thousand (22,000) data subjects,” the commission said.

Citing the company’s report, the NPC said the attack compromised S&R’s personal data such as date of birth, contact number, and gender.

“Based on the S&R’s disclosure and confirmation from their data protection officer (DPO), credit cards and other financial information were not among the compromised personal data,” the agency said.

“They informed the Commission that they instituted measures to secure their system, recover compromised data, prevent further disclosure, and recurrence of similar attacks,” it added.

The company earlier said that its team has implemented cybersecurity protocols that enabled them to resume system operations. It also assured that the data affected in the attack were only confined to contact information and its members’ financial data are safe as these are protected by encryption measures as required by regulation.

The NPC reminded the S&R of its obligation to fully disclose and individually notify the affected data subject.

The commission likewise directed them to provide the technical report of the incident from the third-party cyber security firm.

NTC to telcos: Warn public against spam text messages

Robie de Guzman   •   November 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered telcos to send a message to its subscribers, warning them about text scams that contain dubious job offers.

In a memorandum dated November 19, the NTC directed Globe Telecoms, Smart Communications, Dito Telecommunity, and Digitel Mobile Philippines to send a text blast containing the following message:

“BABALA! Huwag maniwala sa text na diumano’y nag-aalak ng trabaho. Huwag po magbigay ng personal na impormasyon. Ito po ay isang scam.”

The NTC said telcos have until December 14 to submit their compliance report on the latest directive.

The order comes after thousands of mobile users complained of receiving text messages or e-mails offering job opportunities.

Authorities have tagged this as a scam and advised public to report this to the NTC.

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) earlier said its initial probe showed that a global organized syndicate could be behind the proliferation of text scams.

The NPC said it has summoned data protection officers of local telcos, banks, and e-commerce platforms to discuss the scam text surge.

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