By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The National Privacy Commission (NPC) is now looking into the alleged security and cyber threat issues that China technology firms, particularly Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., may be bringing into their foreign markets, including the Philippines.
NPC Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro said that its technology standards division is already looking into this issue.
“Since they operate in our jurisdiction, then they have to follow and comply with our rules,” said NPC Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro during a presscon for the Privacy Awareness Week (May 25-31).
According to Liboro, whatever approach they may take they must also understand the results of those jurisdictions that have already conducted investigation on the allegations of security threat posed by China’s Huawei gadgets.
He added that there are local scientists and technical men who can probe into these technical issues.
Liboro, however, said that the NPC action, which was an offshoot to the stern warnings from the US on the security threat posed by the Chinese gadget Huawei, was “not a prejudgment, we have a process to be followed that is why we are also looking into it.”
Several countries have already started cutting ties with Chinese technology companies particularly Huawei due to security concerns.
The United States was the first to call the Philippines over Huawei. Already, the US, United Kingdom and New Zealand have barred the use of products from Huawei Technologies for the fifth generation (5G) network rollout of its telco firms, citing security concerns.
A report from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission also raised possibilities that tech partnerships with Chinese companies could result in compromised state and corporate information.
Part of the report stated,“China’s central role in manufacturing global information technology, IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and network equipment may allow the Chinese government — which exerts strong influence over its firms — opportunities to force Chinese suppliers or manufacturers to modify products to perform below expectations or fail, facilitate state or corporate espionage, or otherwise compromise the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of IoT devices or 5G network equipment.”
The country’s two telco firms PLDT, Inc. and Globe Telecom, Inc. have partnered with Huawei for their 5G networks.
PLDT and Huawei signed a deal in February last year for the development of its 5G network, which involves the establishment of an innovation laboratory and showcase network. The two have also a deal to upgrade PLDT’s wireless service delivery platforms.
Globe has also an existing deal with Huawei for the upgrading and expansion of its networks and the formation of a mobile innovation center.
Meantime, new telco player Mislatel Consortium has partnered with China Telecommunications Corp.
Liboro said that these telcos that deployed the Chinese technologies are considered controller of data and as such are accountable that flow of data in these devices comply with the country’s laws on data privacy.
“They have to answer to us,” Liboro said.
He also noted that the Philippines has robust data privacy laws to address these issues.
In the case of China, Liboro said that he was made aware of the Chinese government’s efforts inside their country to introduce laws recommending bigger consumer laws to be at par and at speed with the demands of the international community.
“I guess they are recognizing that necessity,” he said.