Gov't vows to protect Facebook users' info

June 09, 2020

THE Department of Justice yesterday assured the government will not use for any other purpose information provided by Facebook users who have sought help from anti-cybercrime offices after discovering their accounts have been illegally copied.

"The law on data privacy prohibits disclosure of information without consent or beyond the purpose for which data was obtained/provided.  Liability, including criminal penalties, is imposed upon those who violate this prohibition.  The DOJ Office of Cybercrime is not only aware of this prohibition; it will assiduously uphold the law that protects the privacy of citizens, " said Justice Undersecretary Mark Perete.

The  DOJ also vowed to pursue all possible leads in bringing to justice the culprits behind the sudden proliferation of dummy accounts in popular social media platform Facebook.

"The DOJ OOC (Office of the Cybercrime) is working with PNP and NBI on this matter. As you know, law enforcement agencies are empowered to issue preservation orders to ensure that data (whether traffic or content) will be preserved pending investigation."

" The preservation of these data, as well as the determination of the subscriber information of those responsible is essential for us to determine why these so-called ghost accounts exist in the first place.

Suffice it to state that at this point, all possible angles and leads will be pursued, " Perete said in a message.

On Sunday, Facebook users reported duplicate accounts made in their name.

Cebu students including those from the  University of the Philippines Cebu, University of San Carlos, and San Jose Recoletos first reported the dummy accounts.

It turned out that dummy Facebook accounts were also reported even in some other parts of the country, targeting not only those critical of the government but ordinary citizens as well.

Dummy accounts were also reported by Facebook users in Metro Manila, Iloilo, Dumaguete, and Cagayan de Oro City, among other areas.

The hashtag #HandsOffOurStudents trended on Twitter following reports that many of those affected were students of UP.

While initially reported as an attack targetting UP students and alumni, users not affiliated with the university also took note of dummy or similar accounts bearing their names.