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[B-SIDE Podcast] Data protection while working from anywhere

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With the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreading, remote work looks like it will continue throughout 2021. Data privacy and data protection are big concerns since hackers have become more aggressive, prompting stricter regulations around the world.

“A lot of companies are still in infancy stages of implementing their data protection management programs,” said Edwin A. Concepcion, Straits Interactive country manager for the Philippines, who made the same observation in a previous conversation with B-Side.  

In this B-Side episode, Mr. Concepcion tells BusinessWorld reporter Bianca Angelica D. Añago the outlook of data privacy and protection in the Philippines during the pandemic. 


Organizations have to put a premium on protecting personal data.

“[Companies] still have to come up with a lot of policies, processes, and standard operating procedures to govern their management of personal information,” Mr. Concepcion said. 

While the responsibility of data protection falls on both companies and employees, companies do have to guide their remote workforce. 

“It’s high time for organizations to put a premium on protecting the personal data of individuals like us,” Mr. Concepcion said, adding that on top of workshops, there is a wealth of free information and materials on data protection on the National Privacy Commission’s website and on the websites of relevant offices worldwide. 

“This is the time to be data aware. Individuals must be aware that their personal information are being collected by various organizations, including the government, and they have to be aware on how they can control these data and decide which information they want to share and to keep,” he said. 

Processing private information has repercussions. 

Guidelines on the minimum amount of personal data that organizations can collect from their contact tracing efforts have been issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Department of Health, and Department of Trade and Industry.

The organizations collecting information using contact tracing forms must be aware of these guidelines, specifically of their obligations as they are accountable for anything that happens to the personal data that people give them. 

Mr. Concepcion reminded, however, that “the Data Privacy Act is not about restrictions, it’s about protection of the data being processed.” 

Privacy will soon become very important before collecting personal information. 

“With digital transformation, privacy will become front and center of the processing of personal information,” Mr. Concepcion said. 

As such, organizations must do everything they can to ensure that they can protect personal data. 

Organizations can only maintain and acquire the trust of their consumers and of the general public in terms of ensuring the protection of personal data given to them. 

“In two to three years, the ‘privacy first’ concept will become synonymous to the processing of personal information,” he added. 

Data protection will surely become an integral part of international trade and business. 

“More than 160 countries have come up with various forms of data protection regulation around the world,” Mr. Concepcion said. 

Other countries already have various laws that penalize organizations for failure to protect their clients’ data, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation which penalizes organizations for as much as 4% of their global revenue if they fail to protect private information. 

As companies from these countries transact with businesses in the Philippines, Mr. Concepcion said they will definitely require local companies to comply with their respective privacy and data protection regulations. 

As such, “privacy and data protection would definitely become an integral part of negotiating for international trade and business,” Mr. Concepcion said. 

This episode was recorded remotely on July 2. Produced by Paolo L. Lopez and Sam L. Marcelo.

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