January 1-31, 2022

The Digital Rights Roundup, published by the Foundation for Media Alternatives, contains regular updates on what Filipinos need to know about their digital rights.

BSP pushes use of alternative data, including from social media, for credit scoring

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is urging the industry to explore the use of alternative or non-traditional consumer data. Forecasting creditworthiness is one promising use case. Respondents cited better customer profiling, improved pricing of loan products, and lower default rates. The BSP issued Memorandum M-2021-074 to mitigate heightened risks of the possible use of electronic channels like online banking and mobile wallets in vote buying or selling activities. Read more here

Credit card fraud in Philippines up 21% since pandemic

Telecommunication companies urged to address credit card fraud stemming from SIM card swap schemes. Fraud incidents rose 21% amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP) sent letters to Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, as well as regulators noting that the industry “has been experiencing high volumes of fraud cases causing financial detriment.” Read more here

BSP says ‘Open Finance’ gaining foothold in PH digital ecosystem

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has formally launched the Open Finance Framework. The BSP said the model assigns greater control to customers over their own data. It also provides financial institutions the opportunity to reduce their transaction costs. The initiative aims to give Filipinos greater choice and control over how they interact with financial institutions. Read more here

NTC Opposes Possible ‘Hold-Over Franchise’ For ABS-CBN

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has opposed a new bill in the House of Representatives that seeks to allow ABS-CBN Corporation to return to air via a “hold-over franchise” once its refiles application for renewal of franchise. Solicitor General Jose Calida branded the proposed measure as unconstitutional and illegal. Read more here

Gatchalian files Senate resolution seeking probe on BDO hacking

Re-electionist senator Sherwin Gatchalian called for an in-depth probe on the proliferation of unauthorized bank transactions and the onslaught of spam text messages. Prior to the incident involving the hacking of bank accounts of BDO depositors, a number of individuals claimed to have been victimized by scammers. Gatchalian said that these cybercrimes put into question the sufficiency of protection mechanisms against personal information or identity theft. Read more here

House panel pushes graft raps vs ex-DICT chief Rio

A House panel wants former Information and Communications Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. charged with graft for alleged negligence in implementing the Free Internet Access for All Program (Fiaap). Charges for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards recommended against Rio. Read more here

House panel approves bill regulating use of e-wallets

The House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries approved in principle the substitute bill that would regulate the use of bank accounts and e-wallets. The panel tackled the proposed amendments by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to the bill with BSP director Melchor Plabasan saying they were intended to make the bill clearer. Read more here

Solons call for accessible gov’t portals, moratorium on fund transfer fees

Sen. Grace Poe has asked government agencies to see to it that their websites are up and running all the time. Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian urged the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and local banks to suspend the collection of fees on online money transfers while Covid-19 cases peak. The share of digital payments on the volume of retail transactions increased further to 20.2% in 2020 from 14% in 2019. Some banks waived the collection of electronic fund transfer (EFT) service fees for InstaPay and PesoNet transactions until the end of last year. Read more here

With credit card fraud up 21%, Gordon calls for signing of SIM card registration bill

The House of Representatives passed its version of a bill mandating SIM card registration last December. This was ten days before the Senate even approved its own counterpart measure. SIM card swap-related cases rose by 21 percent during the pandemic, according to the CCAP. Gordon said the proposed SIM Card Registration Act will allow authorities to zero in on fraudsters and their numbers through the mandatory registration of SIM card numbers. Read more here

BI arrests 83 total foreign fugitives in 2021

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said that it had arrested a total of 83 foreign fugitives wanted in their home countries. South Koreans topped the list of fugitives with 55 arrested, followed by Americans at eight, seven total Chinese, three Japanese, and three Taiwanese. Read more here

CIDG busts cryptocurrency scam ring in Pampanga raid 

93 officials and employees of a company allegedly involved in cryptocurrency scam were arrested. The arrested were managers/supervisors of Oasis Hub Inc., and 91 Chinese working as its employees. CIDG director Police Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro said his men recovered 159 units of computers, seven laptops and 554 units of cellular phones. Read more here

UnionBank drops ‘clickable’ links in anticybercrime drive

Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) has announced that it would do away with “clickable” website links. UnionBank added it had intensified its cybersecurity information drive #CyberSureHoliday to raise awareness on the cybersecurity risks involved in holiday seasonal shopping. Read more here

Privacy commission sets meeting to clarify details on alleged Comelec hack

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has set a clarificatory meeting between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Manila Bulletin, who first reported the alleged data breach concerning 2022 polls. The NPC ordered Comelec to submit no later than January 21 the results of its probe into whether personal data processed in connection with the 2022 elections were compromised. The poll body’s IT department has checked its systems for signs of a breach and found none. Read more here

CA upholds NPC decision on data privacy violation of office building operator

Court of Appeals upholds decision against office space lessor Pieceland Corporation. Pieceland processed personal data of MNLCI members without the consent of data subjects. NPC found Pieceland’s measures were “disproportionate” to the aim they sought to achieve. The NPC also recommended to prosecute violators. Read more here

Holding online platforms liable ‘quick solution’ vs disinformation, Senate panel told

Nobel Peace Prize awardee and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa stressed the need to eradicate disinformation in order to have an “integrity of elections” this year. The Nobel laureate said one of the faster ways to defeat disinformation is to create a law that would penalize technology and social media companies for allowing disinformation to proliferate. The Senate panel is reviewing the country’s criminal laws to keep pace with the rise of social media use in the Philippines. Read more here

Global fact-checkers demand from YouTube effective action against disinformation

Over 80 fact-checking organizations around the world admonished YouTube for its failure to effectively address online disinformation and misinformation. They signed an open letter addressed to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. The signatories called for more effective action to end the spread of disinformation. Read more here

Robredo hits ‘fake news’ purveyors: Stop spreading lies in times of crisis

Vice President Leni Robredo urges “fake news” purveyors to stop their activities. Her daughter, Tricia, was the latest target of false information circulating online. She said her office has reported numerous cases of fake news to government agencies. Read more here

Brands, ad agencies say they have no control over placements on social media

Social media companies are primarily responsible for where online advertisements are placed. Brands and ad agencies do their part in avoiding advertising on channels with harmful and libelous content. Ad Standards Council (ASC) have no control over the platforms in which their members place their materials. Read more here

BIR reports completion of 14 out of 49 digital transformation projects

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has a total of 49 projects in the first phase of its 10-year Digital Transformation (DX) Roadmap. The BIR said its ongoing DX programs enabled the bureau to continue collecting taxes even amid the mobility restrictions that have been put in place during the pandemic. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) recorded 447,188 e-payment transactions in 2020, an increase of 472 percent or 369,070 taxpayers when compared to 2015. Read more here.

Philippines’ internet rankings improved in December —Ookla Speedtest

The Philippines’ internet speed global rankings for both mobile and fixed broadband showed further improvement in December 2021. The country’s median download speed for mobile internet improved to 19.20 megabits per second (Mbps) from 18.68 Mbps in November, improving its global ranking by one notch. Read more here

Study: Most Pinoy workers lack upgraded skills for ICT, analytics jobs  

More than half of Filipino workers are using mostly general skills that are not attuned to the modern technology-driven world. This is worrisome given that developments in information and communications (ICT) have reshaped the world of work, according to a study conducted by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). Read more here

Senate approves bill criminalizing fake delivery orders

A legislation seeks to protect the general public from fake delivery bookings. Senate Bill No. 2302 was authored by senators Lito Lapid, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri. Delivery service providers who violate the act face imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding P100,000 and their licenses and permits revoked. Cancellation of confirmed orders, unless such option is allowed by the delivery service provider, would be deemed unlawful under the legislation. Read more here

NBI arrests 5 people over BDO hacking

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has arrested five people tagged in a massive online banking fraud. The fraud affected more than 700 clients of BDO Unibank Inc. Two Nigerian nationals and three Filipinos were arrested, the NBI said on Friday. Read more here

QC cops arrest online seller of fake vaccination cards

A man was arrested for allegedly selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards in Quezon City. Anti-Cyber Crime Unit conducted a cyber-patrol on social media and noticed the account of a certain Reylelyn Dela Fuente offering vaccination cards for those who are not yet inoculated. Read more here

Marcos camp disowns Twitter network suspended for manipulation, spam

Twitter said Friday that it suspended more than 300 accounts promoting Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. The campaign of presidential aspirant disowned the accounts which Twitter suspended. This came after Rappler published an investigation showing that the accounts were mostly created around the 2021 or were revived. Read more here


SIM card registration bill hurdles Senate and Lower House, PhilSys gets World Bank loan boost – all of these and more on ID Watch December 2021.

ID Watch is a monthly digest of news and updates about identification systems in the Philippines.

Subscribe to UP Internet’s telegram channel for latest news and updates at your fingertips.

The UP Internet Freedom Network (UP INTERNET) is an alliance of students and volunteers advocating for internet freedom. You may e-mail them at upinternet.org@protonmail.com for inquiries.

DOWNLOAD: On e-wallets, fraud incidents, and fight for facts: The FMA Digital Rights Roundup (1-31 January 2021)

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Categories: Human Rights


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