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Migrante demands refund for passport applicants affected by data breach

/ 10:06 PM January 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines —Migrante International has demanded a complete refund of the passport processing fee for applicants inconvenienced by the “passport fiasco” at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“For whatever inconveniences this passport fiasco will inflict on the public, Migrante International demands that a full refund of the passport processing fee be distributed back to all affected passport applicants,” the group said.

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“In the implementation thereof, we warn the DFA not to make life difficult for all the people affected by this mess,” it added.

Migrante issued the statement following an alleged data breach caused by DFA’s previous contractor, which Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin Jr. has disclosed.

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Locsin said the DFA is “rebuilding” its files “from scratch” after the previous outsourced passport maker took all the data” when its contract was terminated.

READ: Passport maker ‘took all data’ when contract terminated, reveals DFA chief

Alarmed by this, Migrante questioned how a contractor was able to retain “all the private information it collected from passport applicant” despite a terminated contract.

“The fact that its contract has already been terminated means that it should no longer have any business in retaining all the private information it collected from passport applicants,” the group said.

“Hence, their continued possession of enormous volumes of sensitive data is already a serious form of leakage and an infringement on the right to privacy,” it added.

Migrante stressed that the passport data loss “places extensive amounts of private personal information of passport applicants under serious threats.”

“This is indeed distressing considering that it occurred while we are fast approaching the midterm national elections. We fear the dangerous implications it pose on the welfare of our dear OFWs (overseas Filipino workers),” the group said.

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“Aside from the consequent inconveniences it will cause them, any private information leaked will surely make OFWs and all the other passport applicants vulnerable to identity theft and other fraudulent schemes,” Migrante added.

The group has also called on the DFA to provide the public with a clear presentation of the actions it will take to “oblige the private contractor to turn over, and subsequently delete, the data it currently holds.”

Migrante expressed fears that if the government is “impotent in protecting the passport data from being held hostage by a ‘pissed-off’ private contractor, we can definitely have a broad idea of how much worse it can get once the implementation of the national ID system is in full swing.” /ee

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TAGS: data breach, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Migrante International, passport fee, Philippine News
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