Data Privacy

NPC tells gov’t units to limit data collection during relief operations

Food packs distribution and providing financial aid during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon in the Philipines required verification of recipients and residents of each household. Local government officials collect personal information to ensure that everyone gets government aid.

In light of this, the Philippines’ National Privacy Commission (NPC) said government units “to further ease the people’s burden by exercising proportionality and collecting less of their data to facilitate such assistance” by collecting only necessary personal details. Relevant personal details may include those that are needed in “accounting, auditing, and budgeting rules and regulations when disbursing public funds, as well as other applicable laws and regulations.”

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“All collected personal data must be safeguarded to prevent any unauthorized access and use,” the NPC said in a statement. “Appropriate retention and disposal policies should also be in place. Collect to meet present objectives and discard any notion of possible future use of the data.”

The commission also reminded employers that they need to ask the employees or affected workers’ consent first when submitting requirements to government regulatory agencies mandated to distribute aid to these workers.

“It is during these trying times that the data protection officers of companies are needed to provide timely and sensible advice to their management, considering all attendant circumstances and mindful of the rights and interests of the affected workers,” the NPC said.