Netizens raise data privacy alarm over NBI’s disposal policy

The scope of the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (RA 10173) is not only limited to any personal information being processed and/or stored in electronic platforms. It also covers physical files such as registration and application forms. While the Philippines is now starting to embrace data privacy thanks to the efforts of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) and professionals working in this booming industry, it seemed like one government agency is being left behind.

Recently, a netizen posted a copy of a scratch paper issued to her when she went to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Quezon City Hall. It wasn’t long enough when she realized that the paper contains personal information of another person. It could be the NBI Clearance of a certain ‘Jenica’ that was recycled due to some possible mistakes in it when it was initially printed out. While it’s nice to know that the agency practices recycling, shouldn’t they also comply with our data privacy law?

The viral post led netizens to question NBI’s disposal policy if they even have one. The scratch paper includes ‘Jenica’s’ full name, address, and birth date. To think that it’s the NBI Clearance of someone, it shouldn’t have been used as a scratch paper, to begin with.

We tried looking for NBI’s privacy policy on their website and found none. Could this be a hint that the agency, who’s one of the functions include acting “as a national clearinghouse of criminal records and other information for use of all prosecuting and law enforcement entities”, is not yet compliant with NPC?

DPA’s Section 7 states:

(a) The improper disposal of personal information shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from six (6) months to two (2) years and a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (Php100,000.00) but not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who knowingly or negligently dispose, discard or abandon the personal information of an individual in an area accessible to the public or has otherwise placed the personal information of an individual in its container for trash collection.

(b) The improper disposal of sensitive personal information shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (Php100,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00) shall be imposed on persons who knowingly or negligently dispose, discard or abandon the personal information of an individual in an area accessible to the public or has otherwise placed the personal information of an individual in its container for trash collection.

We got a word that NPC is already reaching out with NBI regarding this data privacy issue. Both agencies may soon release a statement.

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Fjordan Allego

Fjordan Allego aka Fjordz is an IT security practitioner in the Philippines. He maintains a couple of blogs where he shares his views on various topics that he finds interesting. A self-confessed introvert who's mostly active in social media, Fjordz also loves to travel and explore the wonders of the world.
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