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Improving Philippine transportation while maintaining Data Privacy

An unprecedented gathering of transportation and information professionals in the Philippines happened recently, according to a recent report.

“A Forum on Data Privacy and Responsible Data Sharing for Advanced Transportation Research” was hosted by Mapúa University for both the government and private sector.

It was organised by the Transportation Operations and Management Assessment System (TOMAS) Laboratory.

Based on the latest JICA study, at least US$ 66.5 million (PHP 3.5 billion) is lost daily by the Philippines because of traffic congestion.

There is an urgent need for universities, the private sector, and the government to come together and solve the transportation problem at the same time, being compliant with the regulations of the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

The TOMAS Lab is a part of the Data Analytics for Research and Education (DARE) Program.

It is sponsored by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – Philippine–California Advanced Research Institutes (PCARI).

It is implementing Project 1. It is the Technical Design and System Deployment of the DARE Program.

The Lab works on advanced research projects that will enable the country to benefit from new and emerging technologies to solve the more complex problems of today and the future of society, especially in transportation.

Technologies such as data analytics, image processing, and sensor technologies are being used to provide solutions to various transportation problems.

There were five talks that were given during the forum.

Foremost, an overview of the DARE Program for transportation research, particularly the role of user data in assessing and optimising transportation was given by speakers from the University and the University of California Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies (UCB-ITS).

The second talk, given by an expert from a ride-sharing platform, dwelled on some of the ways on how big data can be used to improve transportation services locally, as well as in other countries like Malaysia and Singapore.

The third talk had a representative from the National Privacy Commission introduce the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and the options available to researchers that would still protect the privacy and personal information of individuals.

For the fourth talk, a representative from the Department of Transportation (DoTR) shed some light on the modernisation of the public transportation system, including accessibility of data from electronic vehicles for research and policy.

Lastly, the speaker from the National Association of Data Protection Officers of the Philippines (NADPOP) encouraged the audience to establish data protection teams in order to empower their employees and protect them from data breach.

With the implementation of the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, both private and public sectors are required to comply with the provisions of such law in utilising personal data in research projects for improvements in transportation.

The forum aims to help in enabling private companies and government agencies to work together to improve the country’s transportation system and the overall quality of life of Filipinos.

The University intends to use the CHED PCARI DARE program as a model for the country in the aspect of responsible data sharing and data privacy compliance, in pursuit of advanced research by undertaking a Privacy Impact Assessment.

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