IN THE KNOW: Writ of habeas data
The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act of any official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information.
The judicial remedy, approved on Jan. 22, 2008, and which took effect on Feb. 2, 2008, was crafted amid an alarming rise in the number of forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions, including the murders of leftist militants and journalists during the Arroyo administration.
The writ of habeas data functions as an independent remedy as well as a complement to the writs of habeas corpus and amparo—both of which are aimed at protecting the right to life, liberty and security, especially of victims of politically motivated crimes.
Under the writ of habeas data, a person can compel the release of information, or to update, rectify, suppress or destroy database, information or files in the control of the respondents in a petition.
Then Chief Justice Reynato Puno said that in the case of the habeas data, its rules did not hinder the gathering of information against a person, but only erroneous ones.
Puno said that many violations of the right to informational privacy had taken place around the world and the Supreme Court was not blind to these.
For instance, the police in many countries keep files on citizens for political purposes even though these people have not been accused of any crime while several instances of illegal wiretaps have been done by private parties and mostly on behalf of the government. —INQUIRER RESEARCH
Source: Inquirer Archives