Face­book, Uber not yet off the hook – govt watch­dog

The Manila Times - - Sunday Business & I.t. - JING GAR­CIA

THE in­ves­ti­ga­tion on so­cial me­dia gi­ant Face­book and ride-shar­ing app UBER is still con­tin­u­ing, this ac­cord­ing to Com­mis­sioner Ray­mund E. Li­boro, who heads the Na­tional Pri­vacy Com­mis­sion.

“Af­ter the ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the process has now been el­e­vated to the com­mis­sion, but we have not de­cided on the (Uber) mat­ter yet,” said Li­boro at the Data Pri­vacy Asia Manila 2018 press con­fer­ence, at Shangri-La Ho­tel in Makati City. “Soon we will be ready to come out with our de­ter­mi­na­tion. How­ever, in the case of Face­book, we need more time.”

In mid-De­cem­ber, 2017, the Na­tional Pri­vacy Com­mis­sion (NPC) has or­dered the then Uber Philip­pines to ex­plain ac­tions it has taken re­gard­ing the mas­sive data breach re­ported in 2016 that al­legedly ex­posed pri­vate in­for­ma­tion of around 171,000 Filipino driv­ers and pas­sen­gers.

While for Face­book, the NPC or­dered the top so­cial me­dia plat­form in April 2018 to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on how it pro­cessed and shared with third par­ties the per­sonal data of around 1.18 mil­lion Filipinos who may have been af­fected by the Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica data breach.

“We gave them (Face­book) ques­tions, and ask for doc­u­ments, which they even­tu­ally gave to us; we might ask for another set of in­for­ma­tion again from them, but first we are eval­u­at­ing it,” said Li­boro. “To put it in con­text: in the U.K., they have 66 peo­ple work­ing on the Face­book case, the NPC doesn’t have the same num­ber of peo­ple to do just that. And they have spent two mil­lion eu­ros on this case. Nonethe­less, we won’t let it reach un­til the last quar­ter of this year be­fore we come out with our de­ter­mi­na­tion on the mat­ter.”

“Were try­ing to cover all the bases pos­si­ble. Of course, you’re fac­ing a gi­ant like Face­book. And we’re ex­ert­ing all pos­si­ble av­enues to get in­for­ma­tion not only from Face­book,” said Li­boro. “So far, Face­book has been very co­op­er­a­tive. In fact, when we gave them a 15day dead­line to fur­nish the info, they com­plied on the 14th day and sent us the doc­u­ments, some­thing they didn’t do to other coun­tries who re­quested the same.”

When asked re­gard­ing the ef­fect with re­gard to Grab’s ac­qui­si­tion of Uber’s South­east Asian op­er­a­tions early this year, the com­mis­sion chair said that it will not.

“No, not at all. The is­sue about Uber is their fail­ure to dis­close the breach. So that’s what we’re look­ing at,” said Li­boro. “Again, like I al­ways said: this is the na­ture of the data econ­omy that we’re at, this dis­rup­tive times that ev­ery­one is talk­ing about; you live en­tirely with data. You can rise fast with data, and fall fast, or even faster by mis­han­dling it. And you can see the ef­fect on busi­nesses. The ex­po­sure of short­com­ings in data han­dling could also ex­pose other weak­nesses of the com­pany.”

The Data Pri­vacy Asia 2018 sum­mit will be held in Manila for the sec­ond time on Septem­ber 19-20 at the Makati Shangri-La. The event will fea­ture more than 15 ses­sions and more than 25 speak­ers from across the globe.

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