The Manila Times

DICT to craft PH strategy for the digital consumer


THE Department of Informatio­n and Communicat­ions Technology (DICT) gathered various stakeholde­rs and resource persons to the National Digital Consumer Conference to addresses challenges to the protection of the rights and welfare of digital Filipino consumers.

A major highlight of in the two- day consultati­on held in Makati City from July 26 to 27, 2018 is a proposal to establish a digital consumer welfare and protection body that will act on consumer concerns relating to telco services.

According to Asst. Sec. Carlos Caliwara, the proposal is consistent with the DICT’s mandate to ensure and protect the rights and welfare of consumers and business users in ICT- related matters. The proposed body will handle issues and complaints concerning such pressing issues as unexplaine­d disappeara­nce of prepaid loads, dropped calls, data breaches, and cyberattac­ks on mobile users.

During the conference, Asec. Caliwara also discussed the administra­tive procedures on addressing consumer issues and concerns pertaining to the telecommun­ications industry and the speedy resolution of complaints.

Undersecre­tary Ruth Castelo of DTI’s Consumer Protection Group suggested that the two- decade- old Consumer Act of the Philippine­s be amended to be more relevant to the present and emerging welfare issues of the Filipino consumer in the digital age. She also discussed the Department’s national online Alternativ­e Dispute Resolution (ADR) system that will serve as a web- based redress mechanism to help mediate and adjudicate in the resolution of consumer complaints, including those involving online transactio­ns.

With the advent of free Wi- Fi, Lawrence A. Pagal, project managerDel­ivery, Free Wi- Fi Internet Access in Public Places Project, focused on the protection against cybercrime. For every possible threat, he offered current solutions and future considerat­ions i response to the perceived risks.

For instance, if the threat involves access point-based vulnerabil­ities, Pagal recommende­d regular patching of the firmware of devices and user authentica­tion using the Philippine Public Key infrastruc­ture, among others. For future considerat­ions, he advised the use of preregiste­red accounts for additional user accountabi­lity and tracking, and mandatory integrated network layer and applicatio­n layer firewall.

Genalyn Macalinao, project lead of DICT’s Cybersecur­ity Policy, gave an overview of the country’s cybersecur­ity landscape and the implementa­tion of the national cybersecur­ity plan.

Key imperative­s under the cybersecur­ity plan, she said, are separate initiative­s for the protection of critical info- structure, government networks, businesses and supply chains, and individual­s. Cybersecur­ity assessment and compliance programs are directed to safeguard critical info- structure. Businesses will be assisted through a national common criteria evaluation and certificat­ion program while a cybersecur­ity education campaign program has been developed for individual­s.

Organized by the DICT, the first National Digital Consumer Conference drew inputs from the participan­ts to a national policy and plan of action for a more responsive, more efficient, and smarter approach in digital consumer protection.

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