Wednesday, January 11, 2017

COMELEC to appeal NPC ruling on hacking of poll body's website

MANILA (12 Jan 2017) - The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is set to appeal the decision of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) in connection with the hacking of the former's website in March 2016.

According to COMELEC Chairman Juan Andres Bautista the commission was set to file the Motion for Reconsideration (MR) thru the Solicitor General on Friday, January 13, 2017.

With this, he noted that the COMELEC would designate a data protection officer as required under the Data Privacy Act or Republic Act 10173, as pointed out by the NPC in its ruling.

Jose M. Tolentino, Jr.
"Designated acting data protection officer in the person of Executive Director Jose M. Tolentino, Jr.  We have until January 27 para mag-appoint ng permanent data protection officer," said Bautista in an interview after attending a Mass at the Manila Cathedral with some 200 poll body employees who expressed their support to his leadership.

He reiterated that the recommendations of the NPC were going to be implemented.

"Mga recommendation ng NPC para palakasin ang website ng COMELEC are all well taken.  Ipapatupad naming talaga lahat yan," the poll body chief added.

He also expressed disappointment over the recommendation to file a case against him.

"Ang akin lang kinasasama ng loob ay bakit may recommendation pa na criminal fact-finding.  Pero andyan na yan.  Sa buhay may kanya-kanyang hamon.  May kanya kanyang krus na pinapasan.  So ang hamon sa atin ay pasanin ang krus na ito ng may dangal at pananampalataya," Bautista said.

Likewise, he announced that they would conduct a workshop on January 18-20 to discuss COMELEC rules in connection with the NPC's implementing rules.

"Itong workshop ng COMELEC is to discuss our own rules in respect of NPC's implementing rules, nag-imbita din kami ng mga resource persons from NPC para maliwanag kung ano ang gusto nilang ipatupad dito sa batas," Bautista added.

At the same time, he admitted that he was surprised with the support given by the employees.

In its 35-page decision, the NPC said COMELEC has violated Sections 11, 20, and 21 of the Data Privacy Act when it failed to protect the privacy of the voters' data in its role as "personal information controller."

The ruling also recommended the criminal prosecution of Bautista due to his "willful and intentional disregard of his duties as head of agency, which he should know or ought to know, is tantamount to gross negligence."

Hackers group, Anonymous Philippines, hacked the website of COMELEC and defaced its contents last March 27, 2016.

Another group, LulzSec Pilipinas, leaked online millions of voter registration data, including names, addresses, and birthdays, among others.  [Philippine News Agency]

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