Issue of October 13, 2019
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Wanted: Hackers who can breach PSA PhilSys system
by Ofelia C. Empian

The Philippine Statistical Authority is working with various information technology experts to strengthen the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) in time for the mass registration on July 2020.

Among its preparations is the conduct of a “hackaton” where hackers will be invited to protect the system and the citizens’ personal information and data.

“We are looking into the possible areas that will be attempted to be breached by hackers. We have this what you call the privacy impact assessment in the office now. This is being conducted by a private company, which is looking into the loopholes, how to improve our system, how to improve our processes,” PSA Asec. and Deputy National Statistician Lourdines Dela Cruz said.

“We will also conduct our ‘hackaton’ where we will invite hackers to hack the system and we will give a prize to those who can hack. The purpose of that is to give solution to the areas where they could potentially hack,” he added.

Dela Cruz said pilot tests of registration have started in Manila last month until June 2020.

He said Benguet province is being considered as one of the testing sites.

From there, PSA will invite hackers to test the system in order to determine its vulnerability.

PSA is closely coordinating with the National Privacy Commission and the DICT, being experts in protection of data and management and maintenance of the country’s IT systems.

PSA also exercises caution in choosing personnel to serve in the duration of the project.

“We are very careful in recruiting our people. In fact there are many requirements that I require before they could come in as personnel of the office, I also ask the partner agencies to conduct a background investigation to these people. So that we will not be breached by leftists or spies or hackers that would steal our data,” he said.

He urged the public to register for the P30 billion-worth national ID system, which will be given for free.

The information provided in the national ID are the PhilSys Card number, ID picture, name, date of birth, sex, blood type, marital status (optional).The quick response code to be used for offline transactions is provided at the back of the ID.

“The ID also has security features. Saan nga basta-basta matulad ti asinuman nu saan nga aggapodiay Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas diay card,” he said.

He said the national ID would help ease the transaction of every citizen with the government and private institutions. With the national ID, there is no need to produce another ID card.
Dela Cruz clarified that it would be a foundational ID and will not take the place of other existing IDs.

Other IDs such as driver’s license, Philippine Regulatory Commission-issued IDs, and passports would still serve its particular purpose. 

He said the main goal of the PhilSys project would be to transform it into digital ID so that every citizen would just use the number allotted to them when they register into the national ID system.

“We want every Filipino to be registered in our system,” he said, adding the national ID system will not be mandatory yet.

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