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NPC assures public data privacy top priority in national ID system

MANILA, Philippines  – The National Privacy Commission on Monday, August 6, assured Filipinos the protection of their data privacy rights is a top priority in the implementation of the national ID system. 

In a statement, NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro said they will work together with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and give them “advice and guidance to address the privacy risks identified at the early stage of project design.” 

PSA is the implementing agency, tasked to handle and secure the information collected under the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys). 

“The NPC supports the proper implementation of this law in accordance with its role in the technical working group led by National Economic Development Authority and PSA and in line with the Commission’s dual mandate to protect the fundamental human right of privacy, of communication while ensuring free flow of information to promote innovation and growth inscribed in the Data Privacy Act of 2012,” he said. 

Signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, PhilSys will become the government’s central identification platform that aims to improve the delivery of social services.

Each person will be issued a number and an ID to use with national government agencies, local government units, government-owned and controlled corporations, government financial institutions, and the private sector. (READ: What you need to know about the proposed national ID system) 

All Filipino citizens and registered aliens are required to register in the system which will collect demographic information and biometrics data.  

Standards to be followed

While it is beneficial, data privacy experts are worried about the implications of the national ID system. (READ: 'Record history' casts cloud of doubt on proposed national ID system)

Liboro, however, assured that the privacy commission will be vigilant in ensuring the rights of Filipinos are protected in the implementation of the system.  

“The public may rest assured that the NPC shall continuously press for the adoption of internationally accepted data protection and privacy standards in the implementation of the national ID,” he said. 

Among these standards include the deployment of a Privacy by Design approach and the adoption and comprehensive application of the NPC’s Data Privacy Accountability And Compliance Framework, Liboro added.

Legislation for a national ID system was among the Duterte administration's priorities in its legislative agenda as the Philippines used to be one of the few countries in the world without it.  

Attempts in past administrations were met with budget issues, legal troubles, and poor public support, among others. (READ: Past attempts at a national ID system: A battleground of privacy, executive power) – Rappler.com

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.

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