NPC to lead COVID-19 global privacy task force

Even if the Philippine government is slowly easing restrictions amid the pandemic, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) still calls for privacy boost as work-from-everywhere might soon become the norm.

In the recently held 3rd National Data Privacy Conference during the Privacy Awareness Week (PAW), Commissioner Raymund Liboro urged for the adoption of better defenses against growing attempts at breaching walls protecting sensitive personal data of the public in the time of the pandemic. The digital conference titled “Enabling Trust in the New Normal: Reimagining Privacy in the Time of Pandemic” was attended by 2,000 participants many of whom are Data Protection Officers (DPOs) and gained more than 11,000 views.

“Many of the coping and mitigation measures to deal with the pandemic involve the use of personal data,’’ Liboro said in his opening remarks. “While some aspects of data processing may have changed due to the state of public crisis, the basics remain the same — people’s sense of trust that their data is in good hands will largely determine our level of success with those measures.”


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COVID-19 task force

Also at the PAW, the NPC announced that it has been tasked to lead the newly formed COVID-19 task force of the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA). It was established to guide 134 jurisdictions around the world in enabling effective government response to the pandemic while continuing to protect citizens’ personal data and privacy.

“Our aim for this task force is to examine current privacy concerns while finding the right balance between supporting innovation to combat the pandemic and ensuring people’s personal data and information rights are respected,” Liboro said. “We will draw on the expertise of our membership and stakeholders to provide useful insight on common challenges.”

The task force aims to drive practical responses to privacy issues emerging from the pandemic, as well as to assist its membership with insight and best practices. Initially, it will train its focus on two strategic fronts: data protection for contact tracing applications, and privacy in a post-crisis landscape where countries begin to ease their COVID-19 restrictions.

“We have seen that personal data and technology have become essential in helping governments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. From contact tracing and disease surveillance applications to COVID-19 testing as people start going back to the workplace, data protection and privacy have never been more important,” Liboro said.