By Adrian M. Reodique
Jan. 16, 2017
Credit: Sen. Ralph Recto's Facebook page
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto has urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to speed up the creation of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Centre (CICC), following the hacking of Commission on Elections' (COMELEC) database in March 2016, dubbed as 'Comeleaks'.
"DICT is empowered to go after hackers, the private citizens whose data have been compromised by the 'Comeleaks' can also run after the hackers by filing damage suits if applicable," said Recto in a report by the Philippine Star dated 7 January 2017.
He said the DICT must move quickly to establish CICC to put up a massive firewall that will protect the country from cybercrimes.
"As I've always been saying and consistent in telling the DICT: we live in an era when terrorists don't have to blast bank doors to do mayhem; but simply unleash a virus that could shred or suck out financial data. An enemy with a missile is as dangerous as one with malware," added Recto.
Aside from the creation of CICC, DICT is also mandated to establish the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) that Recto tagged as the 'Cyber Special Action Force'. "We should hire really good and dedicated anti-hackers. An army of them will form part of our country's defensive forces," he said.
Last December, DICT launched the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022, which aims to secure the ICT environment in the country by building a robust cybersecurity infrastructure.
In line with the 'Comeleaks' issue, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) - an agency under the DICT - has recommended the criminal prosecution of COMELEC Chair Andres Bautista for the violation of the Data Privacy Act of 2012.
Sensitive information from some 55 million voters were compromised in the breach of COMELEC's database.
According to NPC, the sensitive personal information compromised in the hacking incident includes voter database in the Precinct Finder application. The application contains each voter's full name, birth date, gender, civil status, address, precinct number, birthplace, disability, voter identification number, voter registration record number, reason for deletion/deactivation, registration date, and update time.
Besides that, the voter database in the Post Finder application was also compromised. Affected data includes voters' verified personal details, biometrics description, voting history, and other textual reference information for the voter registration system.
Recto defended Bautista from NPC's recommendation and said he could be liable administratively, at most.