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Foundation for Media Alternatives recently launched EXPOSÉ, an online magazine exploring privacy and data protection issues in the Philippines. The magazine aims to present a comprehensive understanding on privacy-related controversies, which have become even more acute during the ongoing global health pandemic.

This maiden issue delves into topics including data privacy for the departed, the proliferation of phishing, hacking and other cybercrimes, and challenges that learners had to navigate as they shifted into online learning.

As the Philippines rolled out the nationwide ID system as a way to centralise COVID-19 response, including contact tracing and aid distribution, an article in this magazine explores how this ID system could potentially infringe on people’s rights to data protection and privacy, if it is not implemented in a consultative and rights-respecting manner.

Censorship of online spaces disguised as a response to curb misinformation related to the pandemic is also on the rise. The police have announced that they have started conducting social media surveillance to find quarantine and health protocol violators. Various organisations and government units including the National Privacy Commission have criticised the move, underscoring that while the police may use social media to gather information, evidence to make an official case would still have to be obtained lawfully and in a way that is respectful of people’s rights to data privacy and protection.

There is an also an article exploring the government’s securitisation as a response to the pandemic, as evidenced by new policies that can penalise people for spreading misinformation without clear guidelines on how this will be established, as well as increasing the power of the state to conduct communications surveillance on vaguely defined "persons of interest".

Other content featured in the magazine includes articles that explore the popular apps that people in the Philippines are using and the data privacy issues connected to these apps, the rise of telemedicine, and how to protect children as they explore the internet and learn online.

The full version of the first issue of EXPOSÉ can be downloaded here.