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As featured on PhilStar:  Data privacy and cybersecurity

In our ever-evolving digital landscape, data is no longer just a simple list of information, nor a by-product of business operations - data has become one of society’s drivers of progress and a catapult of innovation. As every aspect of our life becomes increasingly connected, be it in our personal business or governmental transactions, the paramount importance of safeguarding this invaluable resource cannot be overstated.

This article underscores the pivotal role of data privacy and cybersecurity, particularly within developing cities and provinces in the Philippines, while promoting the integration of privacy by design principles as a proactive strategy.

Data as the New Oil

Data collection and processing has become an important cornerstone upon which modern society builds its foundations. We now see lawmakers and local chief executives make decisions based on processed data including real-time data from their constituents.

Analogous to the significance of oil during the industrial revolution, data powers government agencies and the private sector in shaping user experiences and propels technological innovation.

However, as a necessary consequence of these benefits, the data collected and processed often contains personal or sensitive personal information, making Data Protection and Cybersecurity measures imperative.

Recognizing data as the driving force of our digital era not only underscores its critical role but also identifies the need for an intrinsic commitment to data privacy and cybersecurity.

Privacy by Design Principles

To champion data privacy and cybersecurity effectively, we must embrace the principles of Privacy by Design (PbD). PbD entails integrating privacy considerations into the very fabric of technological solutions, services and systems from their inception.

By adopting this approach, organizations can ensure that data protection is a fundamental aspect of their operations, rather than an afterthought.

Global Privacy Regulations

The world has recognized data privacy as a universal concern, leading to the establishment of stringent privacy regulations worldwide. While the European Union implemented their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, our local Data Privacy Act, RA 10173, became a law in 2012.

These privacy laws, albeit enacted by totally different law-making authorities for their respective jurisdictions, have more things in common rather than differences.

These regulations set high standards for consent, handling, transfer and disposal of data including measures to be taken in the event of possible or actual data breaches.

Data Privacy and Cybersecurity in Developing Cities and Provinces

In the Philippines, the importance of data privacy and cybersecurity extends far beyond urbanized cities, as developing cities and provinces play an integral role in the nation's growth.

Sustainable Development:

Developing cities and provinces are hotbeds of growth and innovation, often relying on data-driven strategies for development. Consequently, data privacy and cybersecurity are foundational for their sustainable progress.

Privacy by Design Implementation:

Integrating privacy by design principles becomes paramount in these areas where technological advancements are emerging. These regions have an opportunity to build digital infrastructures that prioritize data protection from the outset. With this proactive approach, it will not just minimize the possible occurrence of data breach but can even eliminate the possibility of breach from happening in specifically identified processes.

Local Collaboration:

Empowering provinces necessitates local collaboration, including educational initiatives, support for reporting and addressing cybersecurity incidents, and the cultivation of a privacy-conscious culture.

Challenges and Future Directions

Despite the strides made in data privacy and cybersecurity, evolving threats and regulatory landscapes present ongoing challenges. Adhering to PbD principles is an evolving journey that requires continuous adaptation and education.

Elevating data privacy and cybersecurity in developing cities and provinces is not merely a response to contemporary challenges but a proactive strategy for sustainable development and innovation. By embracing Privacy by Design principles, our national and local government units can forge a future where data protection is woven into the very fabric of its digital landscape, ensuring a secure and privacy-conscious society that thrives across urban and provincial domains alike.

Jessie Josuah P. Hilario
Lawyer and Lead Consultant
KPMG in the Philippines

Jessie Josuah P. Hilario is a Lawyer and Lead Consultant from Technology Consulting group of KPMG in the Philippines (R.G. Manabat & Co.), a Philippine partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. The firm has been recognized as the 2023 ServiceNow Worldwide Transformation Partner of the Year, named a 2023 Pacesetter by ALM Intelligence Pacesetter Research, and awarded as a Q4 2021 Leader in Cybersecurity Consulting among providers in Asia Pacific by Forrester. Moreover, the firm was also recognized by the Department of Information and Communications Technology as a Cybersecurity Assessment Provider for Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) and Information Security Management System (ISMS). For more information, you may reach out to Lawyer and Lead Consultant Jessie Josuah P. Hilario or Technology Consulting Head Jallain Manrique through ph-kpmgmla@kpmg.com, social media or visit www.home.kpmg/ph. This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice to a specific issue or entity. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent KPMG International or KPMG in the Philippines.