Just a few days ago, the National Privacy Commission held the second Data Protection Officers’ Assembly, or the DPO2, at the BangkoSentral Offices. We of course are immensely grateful to the Bankers Association of the Philippines, which was of tremendous help in getting the word out to the banking sector, and to the BSP itself, for also offering their wonderful assembly hall as a venue for this gathering of technical experts and fellow advocates for data privacy and security.
Just like DPO1, it was a half-day affair, brimming with insight and intense, respectful dialogue among the participants. While the DPO1 catered to the DPOs of government institutions, this time, the DPO2 brought together those from what is seen by many as among the most important data-handling sectors in the private sphere: Banking.
As I’ve said in previous columns and speaking engagements, massive amounts of personal information pass through the banking sector’s systems. They need to always be vigilant, and to institute strong protocols and mechanisms to ensure that our personal information is always secure. At the same time, among the private sector, they are in the best position to set standards and examples, and to cultivate a culture of data responsibility that can radiate outward to the many other industries and sectors that are linked through the financial system.
Those are the main reasons that we chose the banking sector as the primary audience of the DPO2. This particular iteration of the assembly was calibrated to the unique needs, requirements, and conditions of the financial sector. Our goal was to guide DPOs in the sector to quickly learn and assert their crucial role within their respective organizations. Furthermore, we wanted to build a consensus of commitment in advancing the culture of data privacy in their respective organizations, and in developing a robust structure in the face of potential data breaches. It seems evident that we were able to achieve this, as we did with the DPO1 among government DPOs. Moreover, there was a palpable sense of kinship among the participants, which, moving forward, will enable them to consult on common concerns, collaborate on mutual projects, and share best practices.
This is one of the more important things borne of gatherings such as the DPO2 because, ultimately, our goal is to create a movement. While, at this time, there may already be many advocates for data privacy and security, most of them working in pockets and small communities, the efforts can be much more concerted, and therefore much more impactful, if everyone is aligned and looped into a single force. Messages can be deployed more efficiently, and initiatives cascaded and worked on more purposefully, if everyone is on the same page, and with everyone having bought into a singular vision.
Thus is the value of community. It is as the saying goes: Punch something with a finger sticking out, and you break your finger; punch it with a fist, with the fingers held tight against each other, and you apply maximum force. The threats to data privacy are only growing by the moment, and we all need to band together so we may punch through it with the force of a nation united.
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Tags: Bankers Association of the Philippines, Data Protection Officers’ Assembly, DPO2: The Second Data Protection Officers Assembly, National Privacy Commission, Privacy matters, Raymund E. LiboroChairman