Law enforcement or investigative agencies of the government have no blanket authority to access or use the information of private individuals under custody of another agency, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) said.
The privacy watchdog issued this statement following the controversy on the request by the Philippine National Police to obtain lawyer list in Calbayog City representing communist groups.
“We would like to emphasize that law enforcement or investigative agencies of the government do not have blanket authority to access or use the information about private individuals under the custody of another agency,” said NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro in a statement.
While the NPC recognizes that there may be a presumption of regularity in the conduct of police operations, it also said that the rights of the data subjects remain to be paramount and must be upheld at all times.
“Consideration shall be made on the nature of the requested information and on whether these are required to be kept confidential in line with other applicable laws and regulations on the matter,” Liboro said.
NPC also reminded all government agencies as personal information controllers of their duties and responsibilities under the Data Privacy Act of 2012.
The NPC is still monitoring the incident to obtain additional information.