SECTION 1. Short Title.
This Act shall be known as the “Data Privacy Act of 2012”.
SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy.
It is the policy of the State to protect the fundamental human right of privacy, of communication while ensuring free flow of information to promote innovation and growth. The State recognizes the vital role of information and communications technology in nation-building and its inherent obligation to ensure that personal information in information and communications systems in the government and in the private sector are secured and protected.
SECTION 3. Definition of Terms.
Whenever used in this Act, the following terms shall have the respective meanings hereafter set forth:
(a) Commission shall refer to the National Privacy Commission created by virtue of this Act.
(b) Consent of the data subject refers to any freely given, specific, informed indication of will, whereby the data subject agrees to the collection and processing of personal information about and/or relating to him or her. Consent shall be evidenced by written, electronic or recorded means. It may also be given on behalf of the data subject by an agent specifically authorized by the data subject to do so.
(c) Data subject refers to an individual whose personal information is processed.
(d) Direct marketing refers to communication by whatever means of any advertising or marketing material which is directed to particular individuals.
(e) Filing system refers to any act of information relating to natural or juridical persons to the extent that, although the information is not processed by equipment operating automatically in response to instructions given for that purpose, the set is structured, either by reference to individuals or by reference to criteria relating to individuals, in such a way that specific information relating to a particular person is readily accessible.
(f) Information and Communications System refers to a system for generating, sending, receiving, storing or otherwise processing electronic data messages or electronic documents and includes the computer system or other similar device by or which data is recorded, transmitted or stored and any procedure related to the recording, transmission or storage of electronic data, electronic message, or electronic document.
(g) Personal information refers to any information whether recorded in a material form or not, from which the identity of an individual is apparent or can be reasonably and directly ascertained by the entity holding the information, or when put together with other information would directly and certainly identify an individual.
(h) Personal information controller refers to a person or organization who controls the collection, holding, processing or use of personal information, including a person or organization who instructs another person or organization to collect, hold, process, use, transfer or disclose personal information on his or her behalf.
The term excludes:
(1) A person or organization who performs such functions as instructed by another person or organization; and
(2) An individual who collects, holds, processes or uses personal information in connection with the individual’s personal, family or household affairs.
(i) Personal information processor refers to any natural or juridical person qualified to act as such under this Act to whom a personal information controller may outsource the processing of personal data pertaining to a data subject.
(j) Processing refers to any operation or any set of operations performed upon personal information including, but not limited to, the collection, recording, organization, storage, updating or modification, retrieval, consultation, use, consolidation, blocking, erasure or destruction of data.
(k) Privileged information refers to any and all forms of data which under the Rules of Court and other pertinent laws constitute privileged communication.
(l) Sensitive personal information refers to personal information:
(1) About an individual’s race, ethnic origin, marital status, age, color, and religious, philosophical or political affiliations;
(2) About an individual’s health, education, genetic or sexual life of a person, or to any proceeding for any offense committed or alleged to have been committed by such person, the disposal of such proceedings, or the sentence of any court in such proceedings;
(3) Issued by government agencies peculiar to an individual which includes, but not limited to, social security numbers, previous or cm-rent health records, licenses or its denials, suspension or revocation, and tax returns; and
(4) Specifically established by an executive order or an act of Congress to be kept classified.
SECTION 4. Scope.
This Act applies to the processing of all types of personal information and to any natural and juridical person involved in personal information processing including those personal information controllers and processors who, although not found or established in the Philippines, use equipment that are located in the Philippines, or those who maintain an office, branch or agency in the Philippines subject to the immediately succeeding paragraph: Provided, That the requirements of Section 5 are complied with.
This Act does not apply to the following:
(a) Information about any individual who is or was an officer or employee of a government institution that relates to the position or functions of the individual, including:
(1) The fact that the individual is or was an officer or employee of the government institution;
(2) The title, business address and office telephone number of the individual;
(3) The classification, salary range and responsibilities of the position held by the individual; and
(4) The name of the individual on a document prepared by the individual in the course of employment with the government;
(b) Information about an individual who is or was performing service under contract for a government institution that relates to the services performed, including the terms of the contract, and the name of the individual given in the course of the performance of those services;
(c) Information relating to any discretionary benefit of a financial nature such as the granting of a license or permit given by the government to an individual, including the name of the individual and the exact nature of the benefit;
(d) Personal information processed for journalistic, artistic, literary or research purposes;
(e) Information necessary in order to carry out the functions of public authority which includes the processing of personal data for the performance by the independent, central monetary authority and law enforcement and regulatory agencies of their constitutionally and statutorily mandated functions. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as to have amended or repealed Republic Act No. 1405, otherwise known as the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act; Republic Act No. 6426, otherwise known as the Foreign Currency Deposit Act; and Republic Act No. 9510, otherwise known as the Credit Information System Act (CISA);
(f) Information necessary for banks and other financial institutions under the jurisdiction of the independent, central monetary authority or Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to comply with Republic Act No. 9510, and Republic Act No. 9160, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act and other applicable laws; and
(g) Personal information originally collected from residents of foreign jurisdictions in accordance with the laws of those foreign jurisdictions, including any applicable data privacy laws, which is being processed in the Philippines.
SECTION 5. Protection Afforded to Journalists and Their Sources.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed as to have amended or repealed the provisions of Republic Act No. 53, which affords the publishers, editors or duly accredited reporters of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation protection from being compelled to reveal the source of any news report or information appearing in said publication which was related in any confidence to such publisher, editor, or reporter.
SECTION 6. Extraterritorial Application.
This Act applies to an act done or practice engaged in and outside of the Philippines by an entity if:
(a) The act, practice or processing relates to personal information about a Philippine citizen or a resident;
(b) The entity has a link with the Philippines, and the entity is processing personal information in the Philippines or even if the processing is outside the Philippines as long as it is about Philippine citizens or residents such as, but not limited to, the following:
(1) A contract is entered in the Philippines;
(2) A juridical entity unincorporated in the Philippines but has central management and control in the country; and
(3) An entity that has a branch, agency, office or subsidiary in the Philippines and the parent or affiliate of the Philippine entity has access to personal information; and
(c) The entity has other links in the Philippines such as, but not limited to:
(1) The entity carries on business in the Philippines; and
(2) The personal information was collected or held by an entity in the Philippines.
THE NATIONAL PRIVACY COMMISSION
SECTION 7. Functions of the National Privacy Commission.
To administer and implement the provisions of this Act, and to monitor and ensure compliance of the country with international standards set for data protection, there is hereby created an independent body to be known as the National Privacy Commission, winch shall have the following functions:
(a) Ensure compliance of personal information controllers with the provisions of this Act;
(b) Receive complaints, institute investigations, facilitate or enable settlement of complaints through the use of alternative dispute resolution processes, adjudicate, award indemnity on matters affecting any personal information, prepare reports on disposition of complaints and resolution of any investigation it initiates, and, in cases it deems appropriate, publicize any such report: Provided, That in resolving any complaint or investigation (except where amicable settlement is reached by the parties), the Commission shall act as a collegial body. For this purpose, the Commission may be given access to personal information that is subject of any complaint and to collect the information necessary to perform its functions under this Act;
(c) Issue cease and desist orders, impose a temporary or permanent ban on the processing of personal information, upon finding that the processing will be detrimental to national security and public interest;
(d) Compel or petition any entity, government agency or instrumentality to abide by its orders or take action on a matter affecting data privacy;
(e) Monitor the compliance of other government agencies or instrumentalities on their security and technical measures and recommend the necessary action in order to meet minimum standards for protection of personal information pursuant to this Act;
(f) Coordinate with other government agencies and the private sector on efforts to formulate and implement plans and policies to strengthen the protection of personal information in the country;
(g) Publish on a regular basis a guide to all laws relating to data protection;
(h) Publish a compilation of agency system of records and notices, including index and other finding aids;
(i) Recommend to the Department of Justice (DOJ) the prosecution and imposition of penalties specified in Sections 25 to 29 of this Act;
(j) Review, approve, reject or require modification of privacy codes voluntarily adhered to by personal information controllers: Provided, That the privacy codes shall adhere to the underlying data privacy principles embodied in this Act: Provided, further, That such privacy codes may include private dispute resolution mechanisms for complaints against any participating personal information controller. For this purpose, the Commission shall consult with relevant regulatory agencies in the formulation and administration of privacy codes applying the standards set out in this Act, with respect to the persons, entities, business activities and business sectors that said regulatory bodies are authorized to principally regulate pursuant to the law: Provided, finally. That the Commission may review such privacy codes and require changes thereto for purposes of complying with this Act;
(k) Provide assistance on matters relating to privacy or data protection at the request of a national or local agency, a private entity or any person;
(l) Comment on the implication on data privacy of proposed national or local statutes, regulations or procedures, issue advisory opinions and interpret the provisions of this Act and other data privacy laws;
(m) Propose legislation, amendments or modifications to Philippine laws on privacy or data protection as may be necessary;
(n) Ensure proper and effective coordination with data privacy regulators in other countries and private accountability agents, participate in international and regional initiatives for data privacy protection;
(o) Negotiate and contract with other data privacy authorities of other countries for cross-border application and implementation of respective privacy laws;
(p) Assist Philippine companies doing business abroad to respond to foreign privacy or data protection laws and regulations; and
(q) Generally perform such acts as may be necessary to facilitate cross-border enforcement of data privacy protection.
SECTION 8. Confidentiality.
The Commission shall ensure at all times the confidentiality of any personal information that comes to its knowledge and possession.
SECTION 9. Organizational Structure of the Commission.
The Commission shall be attached to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and shall be headed by a Privacy Commissioner, who shall also act as Chairman of the Commission. The Privacy Commissioner shall be assisted by two (2) Deputy Privacy Commissioners, one to be responsible for Data Processing Systems and one to be responsible for Policies and Planning. The Privacy Commissioner and the two (2) Deputy Privacy Commissioners shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines for a term of three (3) years and may be reappointed for another term of three (3) years. Vacancies in the Commission shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.
The Privacy Commissioner must be at least thirty-five (35) years of age and of good moral character, unquestionable integrity and known probity, and a recognized expert in the field of information technology and data privacy. The Privacy Commissioner shall enjoy the benefits, privileges and emoluments equivalent to the rank of Secretary.
The Deputy Privacy Commissioners must be recognized experts in the field of information and communications technology and data privacy. They shall enjoy the benefits, privileges and emoluments equivalent to the rank of Undersecretary.
The Privacy Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioners, or any person acting on their behalf or under their direction, shall not be civilly liable for acts done in good faith in the performance of their duties. However, he or she shall be liable for wilful or negligent acts done by him or her which are contrary to law, morals, public policy and good customs even if he or she acted under orders or instructions of superiors: Provided, That in case a lawsuit is filed against such official on the subject of the performance of his or her duties, where such performance is lawful, he or she shall be reimbursed by the Commission for reasonable costs of litigation.
SECTION 10. The Secretariat.
The Commission is hereby authorized to establish a Secretariat. Majority of the members of the Secretariat must have served for at least five (5) years in any agency of the government that is involved in the processing of personal information including, but not limited to, the following offices: Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost).
PROCESSING OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
SECTION 11. General Data Privacy Principles.
The processing of personal information shall be allowed, subject to compliance with the requirements of this Act and other laws allowing disclosure of information to the public and adherence to the principles of transparency, legitimate purpose and proportionality.
Personal information must, be:
(a) Collected for specified and legitimate purposes determined and declared before, or as soon as reasonably practicable after collection, and later processed in a way compatible with such declared, specified and legitimate purposes only;
(b) Processed fairly and lawfully;
(c) Accurate, relevant and, where necessary for purposes for which it is to be used the processing of personal information, kept up to date; inaccurate or incomplete data must be rectified, supplemented, destroyed or their further processing restricted;
(d) Adequate and not excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are collected and processed;
(e) Retained only for as long as necessary for the fulfilment of the purposes for which the data was obtained or for the establishment, exercise or defense of legal claims, or for legitimate business purposes, or as provided by law; and
(f) Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the data were collected and processed: Provided, That personal information collected for other purposes may lie processed for historical, statistical or scientific purposes, and in cases laid down in law may be stored for longer periods: Provided, further, That adequate safeguards are guaranteed by said laws authorizing their processing.
The personal information controller must ensure implementation of personal information processing principles set out herein.
SECTION 12. Criteria for Lawful Processing of Personal Information.
The processing of personal information shall be permitted only if not otherwise prohibited by law, and when at least one of the following conditions exists:
(a) The data subject has given his or her consent;
(b) The processing of personal information is necessary and is related to the fulfilment of a contract with the data subject or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;
(c) The processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the personal information controller is subject;
(d) The processing is necessary to protect vitally important interests of the data subject, including life and health;
(e) The processing is necessary in order to respond to national emergency, to comply with the requirements of public order and safety, or to fulfil functions of public authority which necessarily includes the processing of personal data for the fulfilment of its mandate; or
(f) The processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the personal information controller or by a third party or parties to whom the data is disclosed, except where such interests are overridden by fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection under the Philippine Constitution.
SECTION 13. Sensitive Personal Information and Privileged Information.
The processing of sensitive personal information and privileged information shall be prohibited, except in the following cases:
(a) The data subject has given his or her consent, specific to the purpose prior to the processing, or in the case of privileged information, all parties to the exchange have given their consent prior to processing;
(b) The processing of the same is provided for by existing laws and regulations: Provided, That such regulatory enactments guarantee the protection of the sensitive personal information and the privileged information: Provided, further, That the consent of the data subjects are not required by law or regulation permitting the processing of the sensitive personal information or the privileged information;
(c) The processing is necessary to protect the life and health of the data subject or another person, and the data subject is not legally or physically able to express his or her consent prior to the processing;
(d) The processing is necessary to achieve the lawful and non-commercial objectives of public organizations and their associations: Provided, That such processing is only confined and related to the bona fide members of these organizations or their associations: Provided, further, That the sensitive personal information are not transferred to third parties: Provided, finally, That consent of the data subject was obtained prior to processing;
(e) The processing is necessary for purposes of medical treatment, is carried out by a medical practitioner or a medical treatment institution, and an adequate level of protection of personal information is ensured; or
(f) The processing concerns such personal information as is necessary for the protection of lawful rights and interests of natural or legal persons in court proceedings, or the establishment, exercise or defense of legal claims, or when provided to government or public authority.
SECTION 14. Subcontract of Personal Information.
A personal information controller may subcontract the processing of personal information: Provided, That the personal information controller shall be responsible for ensuring that proper safeguards are in place to ensure the confidentiality of the personal information processed, prevent its use for unauthorized purposes, and generally, comply with the requirements of this Act and other laws for processing of personal information. The personal information processor shall comply with all the requirements of this Act and other applicable laws.
SECTION 15. Extension of Privileged Communication.
Personal information controllers may invoke the principle of privileged communication over privileged information that they lawfully control or process. Subject to existing laws and regulations, any evidence gathered on privileged information is inadmissible.
RIGHTS OF THE DATA SUBJECT
SECTION 16. Rights of the Data Subject.
The data subject is entitled to:
(a) Be informed whether personal information pertaining to him or her shall be, are being or have been processed;
(b) Be furnished the information indicated here under before the entry of his or her personal information into the processing system of the personal information controller, or at the next practical opportunity:
(1) Description of the personal information to be entered into the system;
(2) Purposes for which they are being or are to be processed;
(3) Scope and method of the personal information processing;
(4) The recipients or classes of recipients to whom they are or may be disclosed;
(5) Methods utilized for automated access, if the same is allowed by the data subject, and the extent to which such access is authorized;
(6) The identity and contact details of the personal information controller or its representative;
(7) The period for which the information will be stored; and
(8) The existence of their rights, i.e., to access, correction, as well as the right to lodge a complaint before the Commission.
Any information supplied or declaration made to the data subject on these matters shall not be amended without prior notification of data subject: Provided, That the notification under subsection (b) shall not apply should the personal information be needed pursuant to a subpoena or when the collection and processing are for obvious purposes.