Thursday, June 24, 2021

Globe raises bar for data protection to #StopScam

Globe raises its standards further to ensure the data privacy and information security of its 8,000 employees and over 80 million of its customers, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to synergize digitalization. Since transitioning to remote work set-ups, companies have put premium attention on data privacy and security within digital workplaces and among employees.

Highlighting the importance of data privacy and security across its workforce, Globe conducted a learning session for employees in early May. The forum covered two primary topics: “Data Privacy and Security about the work from home set-up” and “Data Privacy in contact tracing.”


Leading the roster of speakers was Deputy Commissioner Dino Aguirre of the National Privacy Commission (NPC), who noted the importance of all stakeholders joining together to ensure the sanctity of Filipino connections. He also provided updates on the recent issuances of the NPC on data subject rights, data sharing agreements, and administrative fines.


One issue raised was data privacy in contact tracing, which has become a key concern during the pandemic. Aguirre admitted that while contact tracing is intrusive by nature, it is a necessary action to help prevent the virus from spreading.


“Any collection related to the pandemic must only be used for the purpose of contact tracing and the management of symptomatic and asymptomatic employees,” said Aguirre, who added that his organization is hoping to incentivize company compliance with an upcoming circular on administrative fines.

Also sharing his insights was Atty. John Fajardo, a former Globe employee. Now a partner at the Fajardo Law Offices, Fajardo discussed “Privacy and Security Compliance in the New Normal.”


With the workplace being extended beyond the four walls of the office, implementing data security these days means stricter control over employee activity and movement. Pulling this off is a tricky exercise that necessitates finding a balance between data privacy and employee privacy rights.


Fajardo noted that it could be done by providing sufficient notice and consent for employees who elect to work from home, using technological measures to balance quality assurance/fraud prevention and employee/third party privacy, and implementing organizational and physical controls.


Globe has also been persistent in stressing the need for transparency, accountability, and empowerment across its external engagements. During the NPC’s 4th National Data Privacy Conference with the theme “Valuing Privacy in the Time of Digital Transformation,” a three-day event held in celebration of Privacy Awareness Week towards the end of May, Globe highlighted the importance of keeping customers informed about what they can do with their data, and empower them to have control over it. It also emphasized the importance of accountability and being responsible for the security of consumer data.


“Data privacy and security is of paramount importance to Globe.  We care a lot for our customers and we want to ensure that their data is safe with us, so as not to compromise their security,” said Anton Bonifacio, Globe Chief Information Security Officer.


Globe’s Data Protection Policy, for instance, defines the standards of processes for the collection, use, and protection of customer data. Globe engages with globally trusted and highly reputable implementation partners and uses world-class cybersecurity and data privacy technologies and standards to strengthen security detection and response.


A common theme of fraud reported is “Deceptive Phishing”, wherein attackers send deceptive phishing emails with malicious links impersonating legitimate websites. The email content lures the recipient into clicking the malicious link which redirects to a fake login page.  Another is “Smishing”, wherein attackers send text messages pretending to be representatives of reputable companies to trick a person to reveal or share their personal information. 


To protect customers, Globe keeps customers abreast of the latest digital threats such as online scams, social engineering, and other related schemes, and gives recommendations on how to avoid falling victims to such illegal activities. The telco has also simplified its Consumer Consent Statements to make it easier for customers to understand their privacy rights and how their information is being handled. Globe expects threats to data privacy and security to further intensify as the pandemic drags on, therefore highlighting the need for enhanced vigilance, protection, and education to help #StopScam.


As Filipinos stay online for a longer time amid mobility restrictions, children and young adults are growing more and more vulnerable to online sexual abuse, identity theft, and cyberbullying. Globe has likewise launched its #MakeITSafePH campaign to keep children and the youth safer online and make the Internet and technology safer for all.


Its flagship Digital Thumbprint Program (DTP) educates the youth on digital citizenship and the responsible use of technology. The telco transformed the DTP modules into easily accessible, e-modules available online to reach more internet users, as people have grown more reliant on the internet and digital tools.


There is also support for the #SaferKidsPH campaign which looks to maximize awareness on protection measures when it comes to Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC). Likewise, in partnership with the Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS), Globe and NPC produced hard copies and an e-book version to guide parents and teachers on the importance of data privacy and security for children.


In recognition of the telco’s efforts, NPC awarded Globe the  “Outstanding Personal Information Controller: Initiative” award for its children’s privacy book titled “Safe Space: A Kid’s Guide to Data Privacy” at the Privacy Awareness Week 2021 Awards. Globe was also nominated for the “Outstanding Personal Information Controller – Private Sector” category, while Globe Data Protection Officer Atty. Irish Salandanan-Almeida was nominated as “Data Protection Officer of the Year.”


Globe strongly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals particularly SDG No. 9 that highlights the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development.


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