‘Data free flow with trust’

Part I


“The World Economic Forum had prepared a paper captioned “The Philippines: Unleashing the Digital Potential “. The paper was prepared after the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2019 held in Davos –Klosters, where then Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo introduced a concept of “data free flow with trust, “ a vision where openness to data flows co-exists with confidence in data treatment, access and usage when it is abroad. The forum subsequently convened 30 leading experts from business, academe and international organizations to map existing policies relevant to data governance and the proposed roadmap was embodied in a report released in June 2019. “ 

“The Forum is now moving into a process of virtual dialogues to support practical insights on data flow policies. Four emerging economies were chosen in South Asia:  the Philippines, Thailand, India and Vietnam. These economies are in different stages of digital transformation and the dialogue will offer discussions of national and regional data state of play as well as ideas for policy development and capacity building “.

Philippines: Virtual Workshop on Data Flows  

“The Forum is supporting a process of virtual national public-private dialogues on cross border data flows. These will provide space for knowledge sharing on data flow governance at a domestic level, regional cooperation mechanism and international collaboration “.  

I am invited as a Speaker under Session 1: “Maintaining and Growing Trust” for the World Economic Forum Virtual Workshop on Data Flows in the Philippines scheduled on Tuesday 1 December 2020. The workshop will include representatives from both public and private sectors and is organized in coordination with the Bureau of International Trade Relations of the Department of Trade and Industry.   

In preparing for this engagement, I asked myself: ‘What policy should the country put in place in order to grow the e-commerce platform into a robust industry that consumers can trust?’  

I wish to introduce the Filipino consumers to the International Organization for Standards or PNS ISO 20488:2020 on principles of online reviews and requirements for their collection, moderation and publication.  I believe that the   ISO Standard   can be used by the Philippines as its guide in ensuring consumer trust within this developing technological system. The Bureau ofPhilippine Standards of the Department of Trade and Industryadopted the ISO Standards in November 2020.  An information and education campaign will be scheduled in due time.

I can see that the   ISO Standard “provides the requirements and recommendations for the principles and methods for review administrators to apply in their collection, moderation and publication of online consumer reviews. The ISOStandard is applicable to any organization that publishes consumer reviews online, including suppliers of products and services that collect reviews from their own customers, a third party contracted by the supplier, or an independent third party. It is recognized that the different processes related to the collection, moderation and publication can at various times be performed by different organizations. This document is applicable to reviews published online and collected by any methodology.”

Based on ISO , “Online review sites offer consumers the chance to give feedback about their experience of using products and services, for the benefit of other consumers who might be considering buying or using them, as well as valuable feedback for the suppliers that provide the products and services.”

ISO makes it clear that “A vast number of consumer transactions and interactions now take place via the internet, and millions of consumers each year read and write online reviews. The rapid growth of consumer review sites, covering a wide range of products (e.g. clothes, electrical appliances, toys, cars) and services (e.g. restaurants, hotels, builders, plumbers, electricians, lawyers), has the potential to empower consumers and drive industry improvements, by creating a more dynamic way to exchange information. Not only are suppliers asking for consumer reviews, consumers are talking back, and talking to each other.”

The ISO Standard highlights how “Review sites can benefit consumers, making it easier to research products and services, and identify those that best suit their needs in terms of function, price, quality and value for money. They allow consumers to share information about their experiences, and to seek feedback and opinions from thousands of other users. Online reviews can also be a valuable resource for suppliers, helping them to meet the needs and expectations of their customers. Consumers with personal experience of using their products or services can help to identify areas of improvement leading to better quality products, better systems, procedures and customer service. Smart suppliers understand that proactively encouraging user reviews, and responding quickly and positively to feedback, can help them to keep customers and win new ones.”

Atty.  Vic Dimagiba is President of Laban Konsyumer Inc.

Email at labankonsyumer@gmail.com