The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has formally launched an investigation into whether telcos exercised due diligence and accountability in transacting with data aggregators linked to the sending of texts offering spurious jobs and investment schemes to millions of Filipinos.
On Monday, the NPC sent Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, and Dito Telecommunity Corp. orders to submit within five days documents and information that will provide the commission specifics on their data flows and transactions involving data aggregators.
The commission also sent orders to Union Bank of the Philippines, Inc. and GCash (Mynt-Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc.)––the main payment channels where victims are directed to deposit their investments. The investment accounts invariably become inaccessible to the victims after they had been enticed to deposit larger sums in exchange for bigger commission. othel
Another government action aimed at combating smishing and text spams that have cost a number of Filipinos their hard-earned money was the creation of an inter-agency group.
Formed on Nov. 26, the group against ICT-enabled scams and fraud consists of the NPC, Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), National Telecommunications Commission, Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The NPC is also pushing for call and text attestation to prevent what Privacy Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro calls a national “privacy disaster.’’ Attestation can trace the owner of a number used in calling or sending texts, as these are listed in a registry. Involved in the proliferation of smishing and text spams are data aggregators, which could be legal entities tapped by companies such as global brands to act on their behalf and deal with telcos in blasting promotions and other company messages to their customers.
The telcos said they traced the smishing and text spams to China and India web-hosted companies.