NPC leads formation of new global privacy working group


The National Privacy Commission (NPC) is taking the lead in creating a new working group tasked with gathering and promoting data-sharing best practices under the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA).

In a news statement issued on Wednesday, the NPC said these privacy practices seek to guide governments and regulators as the countries pivot towards economic recovery.

“The new working group will focus on identifying practical approaches on how personal data can be shared and used to usher in innovation and growth, while protecting individual rights and promoting public trust,” NPC Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro said.

“The creation of the group comes at a time that personal data processing has become integral to sustain a safe economic recovery amid privacy risks,” the privacy watchdog added.

Liboro explained there are already issues over the sharing of personal data in health passports, health monitoring of incoming travelers and returning nationals, contact tracing and handling of children or students’ data in e-learning technologies.

Just last month, the NPC ordered 58 local government units (LGUs) to comply with the privacy laws in their enforcement of contract tracing efforts amid the recent reports of smishing attacks. This, after instructing 79 LGUs to do the same a month earlier.

He said the commission received reports and complaints from the public regarding the handling of personal data shared in contact tracing. Among these pieces of information include name, contact number and address.

“The working group endeavors to strengthen the capacity of GPA members and observers in developing proactive responses to curb risks in data-sharing activities,” Liboro said.

As such, he stressed the need to incorporate privacy-by-design across data-sharing processes and agreements.

The resolution on data sharing for the public good, the NPC reported, was submitted at the 43rd GPA. The new GPA working group will present its progress reports during the assembly’s 2022 closed session.

The new working group will take its cue from the Covid-19 working group of GPA, which was headed by the Philippines. The latter was created in a bid to provide assistance and insights on how to handle privacy issues during the pandemic.

“The GPA is alive and flourishing thanks to our interactions and exchanges,” newly elected GPA Chair Blanca Lilia Ibarra Cadena said at the 43rd GPA last month. “Our partnership is deepening, with our cooperation covering issues that concern society as a whole, achieving a growing impact.”

The GPA is an international body facilitating privacy dialogues and collaboration for over 130 privacy and data protection authorities.

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