AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People strongly condemns the Marcos Jr’s administration’s inaction in the recent data leaks involving different government agencies. We maintain that these leaks are a blatant violation of our privacy rights, and demand immediate accountability from those responsible, while calling for a reinforcement of data privacy laws.
Last week, DOST confirmed data leaks on OneExpert, an online public registry of science and technology experts, that revealed names and email addresses of technical experts registered on the site. This happened only a few days after data breaches from Philippine Statistics Authority, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation revealed sensitive personal information, including photos of ID cards. Earlier this week, the website of the House of Representatives was also added to the series of data breaches.
The series of breaches of sensitive citizen data within Philippine government agencies in recent weeks is a stark reminder of the government’s irresponsibility in fulfilling its task to protect its citizens’ data from unauthorized access and misuse. The compromised information, including personal and details, places millions of individuals at risk of identity theft, financial fraud, and other potential harms.
The government’s response to these breaches has largely been to shift the responsibility onto the people, advocating for password and login credential changes. While public education is important, it is insufficient without the implementation of concrete and comprehensive data protection and enhanced cybersecurity measures. Without a strong framework in place, these incidents are likely to recur, continuously jeopardizing people’s data and privacy rights.
These incidents are also compounded by the government’s recent policies on SIM registration and the National ID system, which collect extensive amounts of data and pose great risks to the privacy and security of millions of Filipinos. Weak cybersecurity combined with massive centralized databases create a recipe for disasters, causing grave harm to people’s data and privacy rights. All of these underscore the urgent need for comprehensive data protection and cybersecurity measures, including investing on infrastructures and strengthening data privacy laws, and avoiding the centralization of vast databases. Failure to address these issues will not only compromise data security but also further erode public trust in the government’s ability to protect the rights and privacy of its citizens.###