NPC, telcos form task force after GCash incident
The National Privacy Commission (NPC) on Thursday said that it signed an agreement with the Philippines’ three leading telecommunications companies to forming a joint task force aimed at ensuring protection of personal data.
The data privacy watchdog said that the agreement was signed last Wednesday by NPC chair John Henry Naga and representatives from DITO Telecommunity Corp., Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc.
The NPC said it would serve as the secretariat of the task force which aims to foster coordination, communication and implementation of the parties’ respective obligations regarding data privacy and protection.
“It is imperative that we join forces with the private sector and collaborate to further strengthen data privacy awareness and educate our [countrymen] in safeguarding their personal data,” Naga said in a statement.
“By working together in this common endeavor, we can effectively promote the significance of ensuring that personal data is safe and secured and the consequences of failing to do so,” he added.
The privacy commissioner added that the initiative is crucial amid the increasing instances of data breaches and cyberthreats that pose a significant risk to data privacy and security.
Earlier on Tuesday, several users of the popular e-wallet GCash, backed by Globe Telecom, complained on social media about unauthorized deductions from their accounts in the GCash platform, putting into question the security of the financial platform which is widely used in the country.
The company said there was no hacking but assured its clients that their account balances had been restored. Later the same day, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police announced they had arrested an online scammer with the help of one of the victims.
There has been no explanation from the National Telecommunications Commission, the regulator of telcos in the country, on what really happened.
The NPC was set to meet with the e-wallet company Mynt, owned by GCash, on Friday.
A Globe official had told the Inquirer that the aggregate amount of suspicious transactions was initially estimated at P37 million.