January 22, 2012
INTERNET SECURITY CRUCIAL TO ECONOMIC GROWTH - ANGARA
Senator Edgardo J. Angara underscored the importance of safeguarding Filipino Internet users in driving growth and development, as the country transitions into an information-driven economy.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, noted that according to the Survey on Information and Communications Technology (SICT) from the National Statistics Office (NSO), e-commerce transactions in the country reached P308.2 million in 2009.
"Relatively, 300 million is not a very large figure, but we can only expect this to increase with more people using the Internet to conduct their financial affairs," said Angara. "As significant portions of our economy will be driven by the Internet, we need to ensure that this digital plane is safe and protected against any form of abuse and criminal activity."
Angara cited 2012 forecasts from Russian Internet security firm, Kaspersky Labs, which said that Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, will be one of regions most vulnerable to "cyber-attack."
The report highlighted that cyber criminals are expected to shift their focus from the US and Europe, as e-payment systems and online banking services continue to develop alongside rising living standards across the Southeast Asian region.
"Taking these into account, we need to push for the quick passage of both the Cybercrime Prevention Act and the Data Privacy Act to ensure that our efforts to grow our economy will not be hampered by the risks that come with high-speed ICT connectivity," stressed Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).
Filed last year by Angara, the Cybercrime Prevention Act (Senate Bill no. 2796) will protect Filipino users from online theft, fraud, hacking and other Internet-related crimes. The bill provides for a legal framework wherein authorities can investigate, apprehend and prosecute cybercriminals.
Also filed by the veteran lawmaker, the Data Privacy Act (Senate Bill no. 2965) aims to enhance the security and confidentiality of personal information gathered via digital means, by safeguarding its collection, usage and storage. The measure incorporates key principles outlined in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Privacy Framework.
"Many analysts have laid out promising economic forecasts for our country in the long-term. While these are welcome developments, these should not lull us into thinking that we can act without any urgency," explained Angara. "I call on my colleagues to quickly pass the two measures, even as we go through the impeachment trial."
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