WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE?
Plenty. And certainly none of it includes falling silent in the face of hackers, or saying things like: O sige, magaling na kayo, tama na ‘yan! – a paraphrase of what Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said on April 21. (GMANetwork.com, 21 April)
From a friend who worked for government in a past life: “We passed the Data Privacy Law in 2012. The Privacy Commissioner was appointed last March. There is no IRR yet. In the four years in between, we’ve suffered without this law: from the stupid credit card calls we get, the unwanted texts from NTC, the lack of opt-outs for various spam and other stupid promos. With the Comelec data leak, we should demand that the newly appointed Privacy Commissioner (Raymond Liboro, formerly of DOST) make this a priority. There are penal provisions for the keepers of sensitive personal info that do not exert the best effort to safeguard these data. I hope someone goes to jail for this. Otherwise, well, we get the usual treatment of being fucked over and over and over again.”
And then from my tech guy: “Is there a way to keep that data safe? No. There ARE a fucking MULTITUDE of ways to keep it safe. Of varying degrees of tediousness and – with equivalent levels of security.
“Can something like that ever be totally secured? Probably not. I’ve seen too many Hollywood heist movies. But if it’s valuable enough, it can be secured so that it would take the resources of a country and a legion of hackers to get to it. And it should take so much time that the information would be useless by the time they get it. That’s totally possible.”
Remember when OPM got breached last year? There was a lot of excitement in various parts of the world (namely the US) because here we had a government department (Office of Personnel Management), and they’d just lost 21.5 million records! These records included such sensitive data as names, dates of birth and addresses and by any reasonable measure, it was serious – that’s almost 7% of the country’s population!
Yet somehow, last week’s news that 55 million Filipino voters’ data was now out in the wild went largely unnoticed. Let’s put it down to a very western-centric tech media but move past that and look at this incident for what it is – a ginormous data breach with extremely sensitive information and at 55M individuals, that’s also more than half the country’s population.
Earlier this year, I was astonished by a commercial, which features no less than Leonardo Di Caprio, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, who playfully endorse a luxurious and lavish new casino and integrated resort in the Philippines, City of Dreams Manila. By all means, both the glossy commercial as well as the casino itself is impressive, if not obscenely ostentatious. One could witness the City of Dreams‘ captivating exterior after passing by a nearby competitor, the Solaire Resort and Casino, which stands as a worthy rival to the new kid in town.
Last week’s absence seemed like a timely break to take from this column, if only because with less than a month to elections one can get overwhelmed by the mudslinging, and get carried away with the kind of shallow discourse that is on social and mainstream media, which apparently forms “public opinion” alongside surveys based on highly questionable practices – a free phone after the elections to respondents of a mobile survey, ano ba naman ‘yon!
IT IS NOT just low to middle income-earners who are robbed of their dream homes by scheming real estate sellers. The well-to-do also fall victim to con artists of high-end reputable developers as this case shows.
(Kidapawan City) – The Philippine police may have used unnecessary lethal force in breaking up a demonstration by farmers in Kidapawan City on April 1, 2016, Human Rights Watch said today. The police used batons and guns against the protesters, including women and children, some of whom threw rocks at the police.