Data Protection Act and Women 

Privacy has been a growing concern now that social media has become more ingrained in modern life. Internet users, as well as governments from around the world, are now seeing the importance of information that when mishandled can cause serious damage. Here in the Philippines, This concern has  also caught the eye of the authorities and in 2012 the Philippine Congress passed a bill to address this.

What is DPA? 

The Data Protection Act of 2012 also known as RA 10173 is a bill passed by the Congress of the Philippines to address the concern of data privacy in the country. This law aims to protect and empower citizens regarding their personal data and its collection and use. With this law, companies and businesses are required to adhere to strict implementing rules and regulations to ensure that the information is used legally and securely.

Registered companies and or businesses are required to disclose clearly the purpose of the collection of data. After the data is collected, they are then tasked to keep data for the duration of the intended use only. They must make sure that the data is kept up to date, secured and protected from being used outside of the stated purpose. When the use of such data has been fulfilled, companies are also tasked to dispose of data safely and in a way that it becomes unusable to other entities that may want to illegally. 

Women’s Increased Online Presence

It is no secret that social media profiles are being collected and studied in order to provide “tailor-made” services within the platform. These vast number of data can be used by certain businesses to predict trends, assess the market, and provide insight behind user activities within the platform. When used effectively, this can give companies the knowledge to make informed business decisions.

Women ages 18-49 are considered very desirable in terms of online marketing. They are considered to be more likely to engage in online activities such as online shopping and the consumption and dissemination of online content. These users are considered to be a gold mine for market research. Companies can then craft marketing campaigns that can sway women consumers’ spending habits online. 

However, this can also be used for other less desirable purposes. When data is mishandled by platforms, this information can be used to manipulate or influence a large demographic.

Targets for profiling

Professor Ann Bartow of the University Of New Hampshire School Of Law, in her work Our Data, Ourselves: Privacy, Propertization, and Gender she wrote that online, women are the quarry. Many websites and online presences specifically cater to the “needs” of women. These websites offer a plethora of products and services that are specifically designed to entice the female demographic.  

She further argues that unregulated data collection harms all consumers. And because women are most likely to engage in commerce as well as share content online, together with their increase in the marketplace, they are most vulnerable to its effects.

In recent years, women online have seen vicious attacks. Cyberbullying and exposure of sensitive information have been a tool trolls use to target women especially those who are active in the feminist movement. There are accounts that Twitter and other social media accounts are hacked and very confidential information are leaked online for other trolls to use as they please. Information such as home and addresses, phone numbers, emails, and others are dumped online sometimes with law enforcement coming in to intervene. 

The Role of DPA Regulations 

With DPA regulations now in effect, it is hoped that this would codify industry standards for the correct handling and protection of data. Consumers, especially women, are now empowered to make informed decisions regarding their information. They will be able to know exactly how their data will be used and stored as well as who gets to see them. This enables the consumers to make informed decisions regarding disclosure of sensitive data. 

Companies, on the other hand, will have a solid industry standard that would enable them to upgrade their data security to be able to compete worldwide. Businesses will now have a strict regulatory body that would promote best practices. With robust data protection and handling safeguards in place, businesses would now be appealing to the international business community. The opportunity to cater to an international clientele would mean more revenue going towards the country's economy. 

As we live a more connected life through the internet, information will become a more sought after commodity. With enough solid and progressive regulations set up as early as now, we will foster a more secure and safe online digital market for the years to come. 

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