Gov’t readies policy draft for cloud computing, IRR for Data Privacy Act

By Tom Noda

Seeking to boost the local ICT industry, the government announced that is has begun drafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the Data Privacy Act, as well as the guidelines on cloud use by government agencies.

Photo shows Nityo Infotech Services managing director for solutions in Asia Pacific Roy Del Rosario (left) and ICT Office chief Louis Casambre signing the memorandum of agreement on TV White Space Technology trials during the first ICT Policy Consultative workshop

Signed into law on Aug. 15, 2012 by Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the Data Privacy Act is primarily aimed at protecting the privacy of communication while ensuring free flow of information. The country’s multi-billion BPO industry is the law’s main intended beneficiary.

The drafting of the IRR started on Oct. 2, during the first ICT Policy Consultative workshop conducted by the National ICT Advisory Council (NICTAC) together with DOST’s Information and Communications Technology Office.

DOST secretary Mario Montejo cited the members of study groups who participated in the workshop composed of tech experts in the government and in the private sector.

“Cybersecurity goes beyond website security,” Montejo said. “The government also requires standards for our ICT personnel to ensure that our system administrators and MIS managers have the requisite qualifications to manage government information systems in the era of cloud computing.”

Montejo also disclosed that upon the completion of rationalization of the ICT Office, a pool of 32 chief information officers from the government will be created. They will be assigned to key government agencies to ensure synergy in ICT-related efforts.

Montejo said the goal is to avoid the present pitfalls of standalone systems and databases in government.

“We have started with the development of standards in cybersecurity with the issuance of Administrative Order 39, which mandates all government agencies to host their respective websites in DOST’s secure server facilities,” Montejo said.

Together with the government website template developed under the Integrated Government Philippines (iGovPhil) project, DOST said it intends to minimize hackings and website defacements that have been a constant source of embarrassment for the Philippine government.

The iGovPhil’s mandate is to guide the implementation of the e-Government Master Plan of 2013-2016.

ICT Office executive director Louis Napoleon Casambre said a proper policy and program framework for the Data Privacy Act will develop the country’s ICT industry through R&D and industry-academe linkage.

Casambre also said TV White Space or TVWS is a latest development under the country’s National Broadband Plan. It refers to the use of unallocated TV channels for data communications.

He said the Philippines is only the second Asian country after Singapore to look into TVWS.

“We believe TVWS is an ideal fit for the Philippine situation. With its long range propagation characteristics, the capability to go through thick foliage, and ability to travel over water gives it an edge over other wireless standards, especially in an island nation like ours,” Casambre said.