Terms & Scope

1. Terms

“Commission” – refers to the National Privacy Commission. (Section 3[a], Rule I, IRR of the Data Privacy Act)

“Consent of the data subject” – refers to any freely given, specific, informed indication of will, whereby the data subject agrees to the collection and processing of his or her personal, sensitive personal, or privileged information. Consent shall be evidenced by written, electronic or recorded means. It may also be given on behalf of a data subject by a lawful representative or an agent specifically authorized by the data subject to do so. (Section 3[c], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Data subject” – refers to an individual whose personal, sensitive personal, or privileged information is processed. (Section 3[d], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Data processing systems” – refers to the structure and procedure by which personal data is collected and further processed in an information and communications system or relevant filing system, including the purpose and intended output of the processing (Section 3[e], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Data sharing” – is the disclosure or transfer to a third party of personal data under the custody of a personal information controller or personal information processor. In the case of the latter, such disclosure or transfer must have been upon the instructions of the personal information controller concerned. The term excludes outsourcing, or the disclosure or transfer of personal data by a personal information controller to a personal information processor. (Section 3[f], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Direct marketing” – refers to communication by whatever means of any advertising or marketing material which is directed to particular individuals. (Section 3[g], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Filing system” – refers to any set of information relating to natural or juridical persons to the extent that, although the information is not processed by equipment operating automatically in response to instructions given for that purpose, the set is structured, either by reference to individuals or by reference to criteria relating to individuals, in such a way that specific information relating to a particular individual is readily accessible. (Section 3[h], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Information and communications system” – refers to a system for generating, sending, receiving, storing, or otherwise processing electronic data messages or electronic documents, and includes the computer system or other similar device by which data is recorded, transmitted, or stored, and any procedure related to the recording, transmission, or storage of electronic data, electronic message, or electronic document, Ibid.)

“Personal data” – refers to all types of personal information. (Section 3[j], Ibid.)

“Personal data breach” – refers to a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorized disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored, or otherwise processed. (Section 3[k], Rule I, Ibid.)

“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. (Section 3[l], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Personal information controller” – refers to a natural or juridical person, or any other body who controls the processing of personal data, or instructs another to process personal data on its behalf. The term excludes:

1. A natural or juridical person, or any other body, who performs such functions as instructed by another person or organization; or

2. A natural person who processes personal data in connection with his or her personal, family, or household affairs;

There is control if the natural or juridical person or any other body decides on what information is collected, or the purpose or extent of its processing. (Section 3[m], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Personal information processor” – refers to any natural or juridical person or any other body to whom a personal information controller may outsource or instruct the processing of personal data pertaining to a data subject. (Section 3[n], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Processing” refers to any operation or any set of operations performed upon personal data including, but not limited to, the collection, recording, organization, storage, updating or modification, retrieval, consultation, use, consolidation, blocking, erasure or destruction of data. Processing may be performed through automated means, or manual processing, if the personal data are contained or are intended to be contained in a filing system. (Section 3[o], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Profiling” – refers to any form of automated processing of personal data consisting of the use of personal data to evaluate certain personal aspects relating to a natural person, in particular to analyze or predict aspects concerning that natural person’s performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behavior, location or movements. (Section 3[p], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Privileged information” – refers to any and all forms of data, which, under the Rules of Court and other pertinent laws constitute privileged communication. (Section 3[q], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Public authority” – refers to any government entity created by the Constitution or law, and vested with law enforcement or regulatory authority and functions. (Section 3[r], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Security incident” – is an event or occurrence that affects or tends to affect data protection, or may compromise the availability, integrity and confidentiality of personal data. It includes incidents that would result to a personal data breach, if not for safeguards that have been put in place. (Section 3[s], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Sensitive personal 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 individual, 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 is 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 3[t], Rule I, Ibid.)

2. Scope

The [Data Privacy Act or “DPA”] and [its IRR] apply to the processing of personal data by any natural and juridical person in the government or private sector. They apply to an act done or practice engaged in and outside of the Philippines if:

1) The natural or juridical person involved in the processing of personal data is found or established in the Philippines;

2) The act, practice or processing relates to personal data about a Philippine citizen or Philippine resident;

3) The processing of personal data is being done in the Philippines; or

4) The act, practice or processing of personal data is done or engaged in by an entity with links to the Philippines, with due consideration to international law and comity, such as, but not limited to, the following:

(a) Use of equipment located in the country, or maintains an office, branch or agency in the Philippines for processing of personal data;

(b) A contract is entered in the Philippines;

(c) A juridical entity unincorporated in the Philippines but has central management and control in the country;

(d) An entity that has a branch, agency, office or subsidiary in the Philippines and the parent or affiliate of the Philippine entity has access to personal data;

(e) An entity that carries on business in the Philippines;

(f) An entity that collects or holds personal data in the Philippines. (Section 4, Rule II, Ibid.)

a. Special Cases

The [DPA] and [the IRR] shall not apply to the following specified information, only to the minimum extent of collection, access, use, disclosure or other processing necessary to the purpose, function, or activity concerned:

1) Information processed for purpose of allowing public access to information that fall within matters of public concern, pertaining to:

(a) Information about any individual who is or was an officer or employee of government that relates to his or her position or functions, including:

(i) The fact that the individual is or was an officer or employee of the government;

(ii) The title, office address, and office telephone number of the individual;

(iii) The classification, salary range, and responsibilities of the position held by the individual; and

(iv) The name of the individual on a document he or she prepared in the course of his or her employment with the government;

(b) Information about an individual who is or was performing a service under contract for a government institution, but only in so far as it relates to such service, including the the name of the individual and the terms of his or her contract;

(c) Information relating to a benefit of a financial nature conferred on an individual upon the discretion of the government, such as the granting of a license or permit, including the name of the individual and the exact nature of the benefit: Provided, that they do not include benefits given in the course of an ordinary transaction or as a matter of right;

2) Personal information processed for journalistic, artistic or literary purpose, in order to uphold freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, subject to requirements of other applicable law or regulations;

3) Personal information that will be processed for research purpose, intended for a public benefit, subject to the requirements of applicable laws, regulations, or ethical standards;

4) Information necessary in order to carry out the functions of public authority, in accordance with a constitutionally or statutorily mandated function pertaining to law enforcement or regulatory function, including the performance of the functions of the independent, central monetary authority, subject to restrictions provided by law. Nothing in this Act shall be construed as having 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);

5) Information necessary for banks, other financial institutions under the jurisdiction of the independent, central monetary authority or Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and other bodies authorized by law, to the extent necessary to comply with Republic Act No. 9510 (CISA), Republic Act No. 9160, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act, and other applicable laws;

6) 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. The burden of proving the law of the foreign jurisdiction falls on the person or body seeking exemption. In the absence of proof, the applicable law shall be presumed to be the Act and these Rules:

Provided, that the non-applicability of the [DPA] or [the IRR] do not extend to personal information controllers or personal information processors, who remain subject to the requirements of implementing security measures for personal data protection: Provided further, that the processing of the information provided in the preceding paragraphs shall be exempted from the requirements of the Act only to the minimum extent necessary to achieve the specific purpose, function, or activity. (Section 5, Rule II, Ibid.)

b. Protection afforded to Data Subjects.

Unless directly incompatible or inconsistent with the preceding sections in relation to the purpose, function, or activities the non-applicability concerns, the personal information controller or personal information processor shall uphold the rights of data subjects, and adhere to general data privacy principles and the requirements of lawful processing. (Section 6[a], Rule II, Ibid.)

The burden of proving that the [DPA] and [the IRR] are not applicable to a particular information falls on those involved in the processing of personal data or the party claiming the non-applicability. (Section 6[b], Rule II, Ibid.)

In all cases, the determination of any exemption shall be liberally interpreted in favor of the rights and interests of the data subject. (Section 6[c], Rule II, Ibid.)

c. Protection Afforded to Journalists and their Sources

Publishers, editors, or duly accredited reporters of any newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation shall not be compelled to reveal the source of any news report or information appearing in said publication if it was related in any confidence to such publisher, editor, or reporter. (Section 7[a], Rule II, Ibid.)

Publishers, editors, or duly accredited reporters who are likewise personal information controllers or personal information processors within the meaning of the law are still bound to follow the Data Privacy Act and related issuances with regard to the processing of personal data, upholding rights of their data subjects and maintaining compliance with other provisions that are not incompatible with the protection provided by Republic Act No. 53. (Section 7[b], Rule II, Ibid.)

3. Period for Compliance

Any natural or juridical person or other body involved in the processing of personal data shall comply with the personal data processing principles and standards of personal data privacy and security already laid out in the Act. (Section 67, Rule XIV, Ibid.)

Personal information controllers and Personal Information processors shall register with the Commission their data processing systems or automated processing operations, subject to notification, within one (1) year after the effectivity of these Rules. Any subsequent issuance of the Commission, including those that implement specific standards for data portability, encryption, or other security measures shall provide the period for its compliance. (Paragrph 2, Section 67, Rule XIV, Ibid.)

For a period of one (1) year from the effectivity of these Rules, a personal information controller or personal information processor may apply for an extension of the period within which to comply with the issuances of the Commission. The Commission may grant such request for good cause shown. (Paragraph 3, Section 67, Rule XIV, Ibid.)

4. Interpretation

Any doubt in the interpretation of any provision of this Act shall be liberally interpreted in a manner that would uphold the rights and interests of the individual about whom personal data is processed. (Section 69, Rule XIV, Ibid.)


Republic Act No. 10173, Data Privacy Act of 2012

2016 IRR of the Data Privacy Act

Disclaimer: All information is for educational and general information only. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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