MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III has signed into law the Date Privacy Act that seeks to boost investment in the fast growing information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industries.
Republic Act No. 10173, which is based on standards set by the European Parliament and aligned with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Information Privacy Framework, is intended to protect the integrity and confidentiality of personal data.
The new law, signed by the President on August 15, paves the way for the creation of a National Privacy Commission under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
It was a priority measure of the administration through the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.
The law covers all types of processed personal information.
It does not apply, however, to the following:
1. Information about government officials or employees that are related to their official functions or positions;
2. Information about an individual who previously performed or is presently performing service under contract for a government institution;
3. Information relating to any discretionary benefit of a financial nature such as the granting of a license or permit by the government to an individual;
4. Personal information processed for journalistic, artistic, literary or research purposes;
5. Personal data processed by the central monetary authority and law enforcement and regulatory agencies;
6. Information necessary for banks and under financial institutions; and
7. Personal information collected from residents of foreign jurisdiction.
Section 5 of the law specifically affords protection to journalists who may use leaked information in their reporting.
Business Processing Association of the Philippines president Benedict Hernandez said the new law brings the Philippines to international standards of privacy protection.
“Much of our work involves confidential personal and company information, and client firms of our IT-BPOs want to know that the Philippines provides international standards of protection to safeguard their information,” Benedict said.
The local IT-BPO sector has been clamoring for such a measure for several years now since a lot of information processed by call centers and BPO offices here are sensitive and confidential data from companies abroad.
Investor confidence, particularly in the booming BPO sector, is therefore expected to get a boost from the enactment of the law, as the industry strives to generate $20 billion in revenues and 1.2 million direct employment by 2016.
(With additional report from Patrick Villavicencio)