Not all kinds of sharing are acts of kindness. Some are actually illegal such as in the case of data sharing of private information.
Republic Act No. 10173, otherwise known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012, protects and regulates the sharing or processing of personal information. Such personal information refers to any information whether recorded in a material form or not, from which the identity of an individual is apparent or can be reasonably and directly ascertained by the entity holding the information, or when put together with other information would directly and certainly identify an individual.
Processing of Personal Information
Processing of personal information is allowed under certain conditions. Processing is defined as any operation or any set of operations performed upon personal information including, but not limited to, the collection, recording, organization, storage, updating or modification, retrieval, consultation, use, consolidation, blocking, erasure or destruction of data.
Under the law, the processing of personal information shall be permitted only if not otherwise prohibited by law, and when at least one of the following conditions exists:
(a) The data subject has given his or her consent;
(b) The processing of personal information is necessary and is related to the fulfillment of a contract with the data subject or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;
(c) The processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the personal information controller is subject;
(d) The processing is necessary to protect vitally important interests of the data subject, including life and health;
(e) The processing is necessary in order to respond to national emergency, to comply with the requirements of public order and safety, or to fulfill functions of public authority which necessarily includes the processing of personal data for the fulfillment of its mandate; or
(f) The processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the personal information controller or by a third party or parties to whom the data is disclosed, except where such interests are overridden by fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection under the Philippine Constitution.
Processing of Sensitive Personal Information
A different and more stringent rule applies to sensitive personal information. Such information refers to personal information:
(1) About an individual’s race, ethnic origin, marital status, age, color, and religious, philosophical or political affiliations;
(2) About an individual’s health, education, genetic or sexual life of a person, or to any proceeding for any offense committed or alleged to have been committed by such person, the disposal of such proceedings, or the sentence of any court in such proceedings;
(3) Issued by government agencies peculiar to an individual which includes, but not limited to, social security numbers, previous or current health records, licenses or its denials, suspension or revocation, and tax returns; and
(4) Specifically established by an executive order or an act of Congress to be kept classified.
Section 13 of the Data Privacy Act states that the processing of sensitive personal information and privileged information shall be prohibited, except in the following cases:
(a) The data subject has given his or her consent, specific to the purpose prior to the processing, or in the case of privileged information, all parties to the exchange have given their consent prior to processing;
(b) The processing of the same is provided for by existing laws and regulations: Provided, That such regulatory enactments guarantee the protection of the sensitive personal information and the privileged information: Provided, further, That the consent of the data subjects are not required by law or regulation permitting the processing of the sensitive personal information or the privileged information;
(c) The processing is necessary to protect the life and health of the data subject or another person, and the data subject is not legally or physically able to express his or her consent prior to the processing;
(d) The processing is necessary to achieve the lawful and noncommercial objectives of public organizations and their associations: Provided, That such processing is only confined and related to the bona fide members of these organizations or their associations: Provided, further, That the sensitive personal information are not transferred to third parties: Provided, finally, That consent of the data subject was obtained prior to processing;
(e) The processing is necessary for purposes of medical treatment, is carried out by a medical practitioner or a medical treatment institution, and an adequate level of protection of personal information is ensured; or
(f) The processing concerns such personal information as is necessary for the protection of lawful rights and interests of natural or legal persons in court proceedings, or the establishment, exercise or defense of legal claims, or when provided to government or public authority.
Information NOT Covered by the Data Privacy Act
It must be borne in mind that not all data are covered by the Data Privacy Act. The law does NOT apply to the following:
(a) Information about any individual who is or was an officer or employee of a government institution that relates to the position or functions of the individual, including:
(1) The fact that the individual is or was an officer or employee of the government institution;
(2) The title, business address and office telephone number of the individual;
(3) The classification, salary range and responsibilities of the position held by the individual; and
(4) The name of the individual on a document prepared by the individual in the course of employment with the government;
(b) Information about an individual who is or was performing service under contract for a government institution that relates to the services performed, including the terms of the contract, and the name of the individual given in the course of the performance of those services;
(c) Information relating to any discretionary benefit of a financial nature such as the granting of a license or permit given by the government to an individual, including the name of the individual and the exact nature of the benefit;
(d) Personal information processed for journalistic, artistic, literary or research purposes;
(e) Information necessary in order to carry out the functions of public authority which includes the processing of personal data for the performance by the independent, central monetary authority and law enforcement and regulatory agencies of their constitutionally and statutorily mandated functions. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as to have amended or repealed Republic Act No. 1405, otherwise known as the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act; Republic Act No. 6426, otherwise known as the Foreign Currency Deposit Act; and Republic Act No. 9510, otherwise known as the Credit Information System Act (CISA);
(f) Information necessary for banks and other financial institutions under the jurisdiction of the independent, central monetary authority or Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to comply with Republic Act No. 9510, and Republic Act No. 9160, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act and other applicable laws; and
(g) Personal information originally collected from residents of foreign jurisdictions in accordance with the laws of those foreign jurisdictions, including any applicable data privacy laws, which is being processed in the Philippines.
Penalties for Unauthorized Processing, Disclosure or Access of Personal Information
It must be emphasized that data sharing should not be taken lightly as violations thereof are slapped with stiff penalties and imprisonment as follows:
1. The unauthorized processing of personal information is penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (Php2,000,000.00).
2. The unauthorized disclosure of personal information is penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to five (5) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (Php2,000,000.00).
2. The unauthorized access or intentional breach of personal information is penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) year to three (3) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (Php2,000,000.00).
These are just some of the penalties imposed by the law on data sharing. For more details, you may check out our article on the Data Privacy Act.
Now, be careful in sharing personal information to others. Sharing is not always caring. Sometimes, it is illegal.
About Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices
If you have issues on data privacy or information technology law or corporate law, commercial law, corporate or commercial litigation, or civil or other criminal law-related issues, we can help you. Nicolas and de Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines. You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. You may also call us at +632 84706126, +632 84706130, +632 84016392 or e-mail us at [email protected]. Visit our website https://ndvlaw.com.