MANILAThe Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) have rescheduled the fact-finding inquiry into the alleged passport data breach.
Director Anthony Achilles L. Mandap of the DFA Law Division formally conveyed the agency's request to postpone the supposed meeting on Wednesday for another 10 days, since there is an ongoing internal probe into the passport mess.
The NPC, citing "urgency" in the issue, only granted the DFA a five-day extension.
"The National Privacy Commission's investigation continues. In their own preliminary probe, the DFA said it is in control of the data. That says a lot already to assuage the public. The data in question is not controlled by any unauthorized parties. That was what today's meeting with the DFA established. The data is under their safekeeping," NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro said.
"The lessons we could learn from this incident would go a long way in ensuring better government practices. They would form part of the recommendations the NPC shall later issue to government offices contracting third parties. We're looking to the future for ways to further protect personal data. The law obliges data controller like the DFA to strictly implement contractual means to protect data when they deal with third parties and government contractors. We look forward to improving on that based on our lesson here," Liboro added.
When asked about its ongoing probe, Mandap declined to comment and noted the agency is still consulting different offices concerned.
"We would like to be certain that once we appear, our information is complete. We owe it to the public that we have the full information laid down," he said in an interview.
In a letter delivered by Mandap to the privacy commission, DFA Data Privacy Officer Medardo Macaraig clarified that the passport holders' data stored by the previous printer are intact and still in the custody of the agency and the APO Production Unit Inc. (APUI), the current passport maker.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said they would take the word of APUI that no data breach occurred when the passport printing services were transferred to them.
Meanwhile, he said only a Senate inquiry can assure the public that there was no breach or loss of data.
"Until then, the Department can give no assurances on the safety and security of some data," he added. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency