As many of you may have noticed, your National Privacy Commission has been hard at work ramping up awareness on data privacy and security in the country. We’ve held various fora and tried to utilize all available channels for deployment of our communications initiatives, especially online. We’ve reached out to partners in government and the private sector, holding workshops and meetings to empower various industries with the knowledge they need to comply with the Data Privacy Act of 2012. Our goal: To elevate the level of public discourse,to create a culture of data privacy and security, and ultimately, to help build a regime of trust between data subjects and those who handle their data, which is necessary for stability and national progress.
We believe that these efforts are already bearing initial fruit, and the results of a data privacy survey held last June affirm this belief. The simple fact is that, today, privacy matters more than ever. The survey, which covered 1,200 adults in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, revealed that a large majority—85 percent of the respondents—thinks that data subject rights are important. Furthermore, 94 percent like to know where the personal information they have provided during a transaction or application will be used.
And, since privacy matters to the data subjects, it goes without saying that it should matter to those that handle their personal information. This is especially true for businesses: Privacy has become the proxy for gaining their clients’ trust and confidence. Trust remains the most valuable and powerful commodity that can make or break businesses.
Based on the same survey, private institutions in the country holding personal information still enjoy a positive trust rating. Among the private institutions, schools got the highest net trust rating of +85, followed by hospitals/clinics (+71), banks (+52), the two biggest telcos—Globe (+35), Smart (+33) —and lastly, credit card companies with a net trust rating of +24.
While these numbers are relatively good, one should note that clients’ trust in businesses is constantly threatened by new technologies at the hands of hacktivists, commercial threat actors, and other perpetrators. Threats that undermine privacy, like Ransomware, arise every day even as organizations scramble to address those that have long been existing. Going the extra mile to protect data subjects and their rights has thus become a competitive advantage for businesses.
In this age where access to technologies and services necessitate us to constantly create and leave our digital footprints, clearly, the question is not whether privacy matters. It does. The question has become: How can we, as a human race, adapt to the fast-changing milieu and ensure our forward motion towards achieving our fullest potential?
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