NPC: Evidence of quarantine violations from social media must be legally obtained

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) said Monday that the evidence for possible violation of quarantine protocols found on social media must be legally obtained.


NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro said that policemen may use social media to look into possible quarantine violation protocols. However, they must recognize the data privacy rights of the public.

“'Yung leads o ebidensya na makukuha sa social media and other digital tools must be legally obtained (The leads or evidence found on social media and other digital tools must be legally obtained),” Liboro said on ABS-CBN Teleradyo.

The Joint Task Force COVID Shield had earlier ordered all police commanders to monitor Facebook and other social media platforms for any uploaded photos and videos that may violate the existing rules on the use of face masks and face shields and of mass gathering.

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield, said the purpose of the monitoring is part of the enforcement of the quarantine rules amid reports and social media posts that show blatant violation of the minimum health safety standard protocols.

“Itong ating mga law enforcers ay kailangan gumamit ng mga technique na hindi naman nanghihimasok (Our law enforcers need to use techniques that are non-invasive),” he added.

Liboro said the task force must provide an explanation of its method of monitoring social media posts to ease the public fear of mass and indiscriminate surveillance.

“Ang social media ay nandyan, gamitin sa tama ‘yan at meron din itong mga hangganan. Aware dapat ang lahat at trained ang mga law enforcers na gagamit nito para napoprotektahan ang karapatan ng mga mamayan (The social media is there, so use it correctly and it also has boundaries. Everyone should be aware and the law enforcers who will use it must be trained to protect the rights of the people),” Liboro said.

Liboro noted that if the public’s trust is lost it will not help the law enforcers.

“Itong paggamit ng social media ay maraming mabuting pwedeng gawin ‘yan, pero yung kalabisan ‘yun din ang ating pagmamatyagan. Makakatulong din ang paglilinaw din ng ating kapulisan papaano ba nila isasagawa ito para mawala din yung agam agam ng mamayan (The use of social media has many good things that can be done, but we must also look out for abuses. It will also help our police to clarify the methods of monitoring on how they will carry it so that the public's doubts will also disappear),” he said.

Eleazar appealed to netizens to assist the Philippine National Police (PNP) in running after the violators of quarantine protocols, even if those involved are policemen.

Netizens who want to assist the PNP in the enforcement of the quarantine rules could tag the social media accounts of the local police stations or any police units for action.

READ MORE: Beware of your social media posts, it may betray quarantine violations