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WFH to require data safeguards for outsourcing clients

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REUTERS

OUTSOURCING contracts need to be rewritten to ensure client data protection under work-from-home (WFH) arrangements, IBM Philippines Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive Princess Lou M. Ascalon said.

Ms. Ascalon made the remarks at a virtual event organized by the National Privacy Commission Thursday.

“Data privacy clauses in our client and vendor contracts were… insufficient in addressing issues in a work-from-home environment, where we had to quickly amend and negotiate our client and vendor contracts to allow work-from-home arrangements with increased commitment from a physical, technical, and organizational perspective to ensure data privacy and security,” she said.

Some clients also asked for noise-proof workspaces in employee homes to reduce interference. Ms. Ascalon said IBM Philippines had to explain to clients that it is impossible for work-from-home operations to exactly mirror the security of an office environment.

IBM Philippines also had to ensure the delivery of secure devices to homes and to secure company network connections.

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At the event, the NPC announced that it is leading 134 jurisdictions in a global task force to help shape government responses in protecting citizen privacy during the pandemic.

Privacy Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro was appointed chairman of the COVID-19 task force of the Global Privacy Assembly, which will focus on protecting data during contact-tracing and ensuring privacy as COVID-19 testing expands when employees return to work after quarantine restrictions are eased.

“Our aim for this task force 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,” Mr. Liboro said.

The task force includes representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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