DICT’s cybersecurity unit to conduct probe on passport data fiasco

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has announced that its CyberSecurity Bureau will conduct its own investigation of the passport data controversy started by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

DICT assistant secretary Allan Cabanlon. Photo credit: Facebook

Allan Cabanlong, DICT assistant secretary for cybersecurity and enabling technologies, said in a statement on Monday, January 14, that it is the agency’s mandate to provide oversight on government agencies handling personal data in order to ensure its privacy and security.

“The DFA, a national government agency, has been classified as one of the Philippines’ 12 Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) that DICT, under RA 10844, is mandated to provide oversight regarding their information assets, individuals and businesses relating thereto. This is to ensure that the welfare of the consumers, as well as the privacy and security of the data collected and used for their specific purpose adheres with the policies and practices of DICT,” Cabanlong said.

The DICT official said that the DFA should ensure its compliance with the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 which aims to assure continuous operations of the country’s critical infrastructures, including public and military networks.

It can accomplish this objectrive, the DICT said, by implementing cyber resiliency measures to enhance ability to respond to threats before, during and after attacks, coordinating with law enforcement agencies; and building a cybersecurity-educated community.

“If your organization is identified as one of the Philippines’ 12 CIIs, make sure you are fully aware of your cybersecurity responsibilities,” Cabanlong stressed.

For its part, the Malacañang has ordered the National Privacy Commission to investigate the passport data incident and determine whether provisions of Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 were violated concerning on personal information of the data subjects.

DFA secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said that the previous contractor has made inaccessible the data it was entrusted to after its printing contract was terminated.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, through French firm Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciare, had been printing passport booklets before the contract for the production of Philippine electronic passports was awarded to the APO Production Unit Inc.

Locsin hinted that the “crooked” passport deal in the previous administration is to blame for the passport mess. — Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

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