Privacy body hobbled by low public awareness
Only 5 percent of Filipinos considered the National Privacy Commission (NPC) when asked where they can raise data privacy complaints, a survey said, showing a dire lack of awareness nearly six years since the watchdog was formed.
This was according to the survey done by the Philippine Survey and Research Center (PSRC) on 1,000 respondents in October and November of last year. The survey, which sought to determine how the public sees data privacy and its watchdog, was commissioned by the NPC.
The NPC was formed in March 2016. Its enabling law was passed long before that—2012.
The survey data suggests that the NPC still has a long way to go before it becomes the public’s first resort for data privacy issues, in the same way people would first call firefighters, not police, in case of fire.
Avenues for complaints
When asked where they could file a data privacy complaint, 43 percent said they would go to the police, followed by 32 percent of respondents who simply did not know where to turn to. Nineteen percent, meanwhile, pointed to the National Bureau of Investigation.
“Only one in 20 individuals believe they can file complaints to the NPC,” PSRC said in its survey results, a copy of which was also made available to the media by the NPC on Monday.
An estimate of only 10 percent of Filipinos are aware of NPC. Moreover, the level of awareness varies based on location and socioeconomic class.
For example, 95 percent of the poor, or those under socioeconomic class E, said the survey was the first time they heard or read about the NPC, as opposed to the 83 percent who gave the same answer under the A, B and C classes.
Lowest in the Visayas
Meanwhile, only 5 percent of respondents in the Visayas said they have heard or read about the NPC before—lower compared to the 14 percent in Metro Manila, 11 percent in the rest of Luzon outside the capital and 12 percent in Mindanao.
Trust was also low, especially in the eyes of the poor. When asked how much they trust NPC, only 27 percent under class E said they trust the agency to an extent.
On the other hand, nearly half, or 45 percent of those belonging to the A, B and C classes said they could trust the watchdog.
“The National Privacy Commission recognizes the importance of continuously promoting data privacy awareness, most especially in locations such as rural areas and those in the lower economic classes,” said Privacy Commissioner John Henry Naga in a statement on Monday.
“Therefore, we are planning to focus our efforts in increasing data privacy and protection awareness, which in effect will educate and empower data subjects, making them less vulnerable to data privacy abuses,” he said.
“Heightened awareness and familiarity with data privacy concepts and the Data Privacy Act is essential in improving public satisfaction, trust and engagement with the NPC,” the agency’s chief added. INQ