Facebook, Uber not yet off the hook – govt watchdog
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.