PH to lead global privacy taskforce on COVID-19

June 1, 2020 | 1:41 PM GMT+0800 Last Edit: June 2, 2020

  1. The National Privacy Commission (NPC) is leading the newly formed COVID-19 taskforce of the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA), instituted to guide 134 jurisdictions around the world in enabling effective government response to the pandemic while continuing to protect citizens’ personal data and privacy.
  2. Privacy Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro commenced his chairmanship of the taskforce in an inaugural meet last 26 May, coinciding with the Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) 2020.
  3. “Our aim for this taskforce 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. We will draw on the expertise of our membership and stakeholders to provide useful insight on common challenges,” Liboro said.
  4. The taskforce aims to drive practical responses to privacy issues emerging from the pandemic, as well 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.
  5. “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.
  6. In a message, GPA Chair Commissioner Elizabeth Denham thanked Liboro for accepting the new role to lead the taskforce.
  7. “The Philippines was a great example of a country where the privacy commission had been able to work with national authorities and others in efforts to combat the pandemic, exercising its role as both enabler and protector of citizens’ personal data. As a member of the GPA Executive Committee which had decided on establishment of the Taskforce, Commissioner Liboro was already bringing his customary energy and vision to the new role,” Denham said.
  8. The taskforce is composed of members from Europe, Asia, North America, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, it also includes international organizations as observers, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  9. Formerly known as the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC), the Global Privacy Assembly is the premier global forum for data protection and privacy authorities established in 1979.
  10. Meantime, the NPC marked the celebration of the PAW 2020 in the country with the holding of the 3rd National Data Privacy Conference via a mass video conference last Friday, attended by some 2,000 online participants, many of whom are registered Data Protection Officers.
  11. Dubbed “Enabling Trust in the New Normal: Reimagining Privacy in the Time of Pandemic,” the live online conference discussed how organizations may retain data subject trust as they adapt to changes under the new normal. This involves the adoption of better defenses against continuing attempts of cyberattacks on the sensitive personal data of the public in the time of pandemic.

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