Trillanes seeks Senate probe of DFA passport data mess
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is seeking a Senate investigation on the reported data breach at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) involving a passport contractor.
In filing Senate Resolution No. 987, Trillanes directed the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry on the data breach involving the agency’s former passport maker, as initially disclosed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
The senator said that the inquiry will determine whether there is a need to amend or strengthen the existing Data Privacy Act of 2012.
The said act “recognizes the vital role of information and communications technology in nation-building and its inherent obligation to ensure that personal information in information and communications systems in the government and in the private sector are secured and protected.”
Earlier, Trillanes’ fellow senator, Risa Hontiveros, filed her own resolution aiming to look into the issue as well.
This developed following Locsin’s claim that the DFA’s previous passport contractor “took all” the applicants’ data after its contract was terminated.
“Because previous contractor got pissed when terminated it made off with data. We did nothing about it or couldn’t because we were in the wrong,” he said through his personal Twitter account last January 9.
This was in response to a tweet by DFA Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato instructing applicants who plan to renew their brown or green passports or the maroon machine-readable passports (MRP) to submit birth certificates “because we need to capture and store the document in our database as we no longer have the physical copy of the document submitted when they first applied.”
However, former DFA chief Perfect Yasay Jr. said that Locsin might have been “misinformed” about the data breach issue in the agency as there was no data stolen by a previous contractor. /ee
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