National ID system described as threat to privacy
MANILA, Philippines—A proposed national ID system pending approval in the House of Representatives will threaten the privacy of ordinary citizens, a party-list lawmaker warned on Wednesday.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the “National ID System Bill” or House Bill 5060 would be “a threat to the security of personal information,” and possibly place citizens at risk.
“A national ID system will make it mandatory for all to submit personal information to be aggregated into a single dossier which, if compromised, places the Filipino people at very high personal risk,” he said in a statement.
“In the current state of our country that even our automated elections, down to the indelible ink, was deemed unreliable, what more of the personal information of every Filipino?” he said.
The bill was approved by a panel composed of the committees on revision of laws and on appropriations on Friday.
It aims to consolidate all existing government ID systems into “one-integrated and efficient identification body,” according to revisions committee chair Marlyn Primicias-Agabas and appropriations committee chair Isidro Ungab.
The authors said the bill “will institutionalize a national information card for all Filipinos that would ensure facilitation and streamline government transactions, and help promote a progressive society through an efficient delivery of basic services.”
The bill also identifies the Philippine Statistics Authority and the Department of Foreign Affairs as the implementing agencies tasked to create and maintain a “Filipino Citizen Registry.”
Zarate said the objectives of the bill do not outweigh the risks.
“Anyone can cite all the good intentions this bill may have, but it lacks foresight,” he said. “Can our current systems, already weighed down with problems, bear up sufficiently under the requirements of such an implementation involving sensitive personal information? We cannot risk our people’s security to misaddress the problem of bureaucratic inefficiency.”
Zarate said the biggest problem of such a national ID system was security.
“The bill looks up to the national ID systems of other countries such as the US, but we all know about the horror stories of CIA [Central Intellgence Agency] surveillance and mishandling,” he said.
There were two unsuccessful attempts to launch a national ID system during the presidencies of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Fidel V. Ramos.