Filipinos have NOTHING TO FEAR from the Department of Foreign Affairs passport data theft circus

Since news of a rogue contractor employed by the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) “making off” with passport data broke, the Net has become a buzzing hive of overnight armchair data security “experts”. Some social media “influencers” such as the venerable “Momblogger” Noemi Dado even suggest that the way to go to prevent similar mishaps from happening again is through blockchain technology — the technology that is supposedly behind the Bitcoin and other “cryptocurrency” scams that fuelled an “investment” histeria in 2018.

The fact is, there really is nothing to be shrill about. Although there is cause to be outraged over a serious lapse in security measures applied by the DFA in managing contractors involved in developing its technology capabilities, the fact is, there really is not much any one crook can do with Filipino passport data. To give us a bit of perspective, the amount of high quality and actionable data we willingly surrender to Facebook vastly dwarfs that of the data sets the DFA’s contractors allegedly “made off” with.

The key words here are highlighted above: quality and actionable.

Facebook may not have as complete personal information about us as the DFA (i.e. it has a spotty record of our real names, dates of birth and residential addresses, for example) but it has something far more valuable: our purchasing and political preferences, likes and dislikes, what memes and “stories” we pause our incessant scrolling to look at or click into for more details, a timestamped text archive of our intimate chats with family, friends and lovers, geographical footprints of our historical whereabouts, an enormous trove of digitised facial data that it correlates with our tags and mentions, and much much more. Indeed, Facebook does not even need to require us to provide authentication documents such as birth certificates, NBI clearances, and proofs of residence to really get to know us — because it can infer all of that from what we voluntarily key into its portfolio of apps and websites.

The types of data sets Facebook and other social media platforms have amassed is fundamentally different to the data “stolen” from the DFA that every social media “expert” and her cat is shrieking about. This is data that provides actionable insight to Facebook in the form of an ability to serve targetted ads and develop a profile to model entire societies unprecedented in its usefulness for predicting collective behaviour and the use of this insight to develop effective marketing and political campaigns. Now this is where the big bucks are made and why these organisations are so powerful and valuable. People that rise to power on the back of capability to use Big Data to win elections and sell products are the ones we really should be worried about. Two-bit crooks who “make off” with data used to print passports not even worth the paper they are printed on are really the least of our concerns.

But here’s the thing. Despite several years of fear-mongering over the power Facebook, Google, and other Big Corporate data collectors are suspected to be wielding on society has not really resulted in catastrophes that are beyond any one person’s personal control. The data President Donald Trump used to become leader of the free world was also available to his competitors. Most important of all, the data he used mirrored a fundamental vulnerability of human nature — a predisposition to emotional reaction over intelligent response.

It is, indeed, ironic that the response we are seeing today surrounding the DFA data breach is identical in nature to what got Trump elected to the US presidency to begin with — a response fuelled by a bunch of shills shrieking about something that is, essentially, of no consequence. It is yet another case of the wrong arguments winning over a gullible public.

Filipinos should get a grip and think before reacting to the ill-thought-out drivel spewed by their “thought leaders”. That way, the right perspectives can prevail for a change and, on that outcome, the right solutions can be found.

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29 Comments on “Filipinos have NOTHING TO FEAR from the Department of Foreign Affairs passport data theft circus”

  1. It’s much more worrying that Risa, the Yellows, and the other armchair activists are more concerned about a blunder like this and are quick to heap the blame to the current administration, especially if this article is true https://archive.fo/uGIVl that the outsourced company was awarded this contract APO Production Unit Inc.(APUI) in lieu of the existing agreement of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciare (FCOF) of France during the Aquino administration because they wanted to fix the bureaucracy of the GMA administration. Also goes out to people who are having cognitive dissonance, Corporations and Governments have been shifting through your personal data in the internet for the last two decades, this goes out to the people who use Social Media and are complaining about this.

    1. Spot on. That’s another of those bald inconsistencies these social media “experts” miss by a mile. Griping about privacy on social media, the business models of which are hinged on collecting your data.

      1. It’s getting pathetic that around in Social Media and in this comment section, you’ll see Cognitive Idiocy in action. the Philippine Passport has less value than the US or Singaporean passports. Instead of focusing their ire to the company who thought they “owned” those data, they’d rather play partisan politics, and when given evidence that the company was chosen by the last administration, they’d turn down an ear like when the Philippines lost about a billion pesos in a lawsuit against the Belgian dredging firm BDZ because Aquino thought this was an unneeded project, same could be said about big pharma Sanofi getting let off killing children with a terrible vaccination deal. And there’s the small wailing about Martial Law, Boracay Rehabilitation, and then Inflation, few months later they all turn quiet. Selective Outrage, Selective Memory, No Integrity.

  2. remember the comelec data breach a few years back? no? thats because it had no long term impact on filipino lives.
    same banana here. the data is useless. i mean, its not like this is america where a lot can be done with a load of social security numbers. Passport numbers will be useless in 5 years max, and were talking about those who have just recently renewed. Sure, we can use that data to mine unwanted ancestry information, but in the first place, who would?

    1. Sort of like that whole inflation brouhaha and the quaint manner with which the Yellowtards tried to correlate its behaviour to presidents. Ultimately it all averages out over the long term and, like this example, is neither within any one person’s control nor is within one’s ability to opt out of.

  3. Noeme Dado, the MomBloger and the BlogWatch Webmaster, is one of the Aquino Cojuangco running dogs, who were assigned to hijack our mindsets.

    The theft of the data in the DFA passport database, is nothing. What they had stolen are just your name, date of birth, and residence.

    The theft of of DAP, PDAF and the Typhoon Yolanda fund is much worse. It involved our taxpayers’ money and foreign contributions to finance the Typhoon Yolanda victims reecovery. Yet, the mainstream media, and that bitch, Noeme Dado, did not even give a whimper.

    Let us just arrest those DFA data thieves and jail them. Recover whatever data, they had stolen, and not make this another political issue of this nonsense. We have other important issues, that are needed to be addressed !

  4. Lol! The data breach is important because it exposes you to IDENTITY THEFT!

    Things like Mother’s Maiden name, Place of birth , Govt numbers are common security questions to identify you. This data breach exposes individuals to all sorts of FRAUD. As is usual benign0 you totally miss the mark and try to inflate your tiny self-interest. Compared to the risk of identity theft, things gathered by FB, Amazon such as targeted ads and marketing data isn’t really that important. Nobody cares where you buy your HUGE BBC DILDOS benign0

    1. Oh boy, here we go…

      On-topic: when did PASSPORTS a big deal when it comes to identity theft?

      New Year, SAME OLD BULLSHIT coming from you. Hope you will be banned once again, kid.

      1. I AM TOTALLY AGAINST BANNING DARTH THE UNWISE. because
        1st his comments are absolutely hands-down totally unwise. If he is banned it means what he is commenting is spot on
        2nd he is just jealous of benign0’s prose-&-poetry and impeccable English. It is common in the Philippines they attack a person just because they speak and write good English
        3rdly, his comments do not make sense at all.
        4thly, Darth’s comments brings color to this blogsite
        5thly, benign0 is anti-anything-benign0-doesn’t-agree-to … , like, anti-Aquino-anything or anyone associated with him … and that makes Darth a pro-Aquino
        6thly and sexy, give darth something to blow his top … sounds like this chap had not had a good six.

    2. @Darth Mortis the Unwise:

      It’s a stupid to be alarmed of the loss of data on the DFA passports. The data cannot be used for identity theft.

      In the U.S., it is alarming, because of the Social Security Numbers, assigned to every U.S. citizen and lwgal aliens.

      Unless they can copy your picture and thumb print ; they cannot assume your identity.
      Using your name, middle name , place of residence and date of birth cannot be used to steal your identity.

      So, do not make mountains out of ant hills, like the YellowTards do !

      1. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IS TO DIE FOR IN AMERICA. In the U.S. Social Security Number IS FOR LIFE and it is YOUR LIFE. Lose it you lose your being.

        No SSN. No Driver’s License or State issued ID. No ID. No Work. No work. No honey. No honey. GO BACK TO PHILIPPINES.

      2. Lol. It’s difficult hayden to understand your comment coz its so dumb

        Common security questions for the banking accounts are mother’s maiden, place of birth.

        Like I said , you are probably not important enough to be worried about identity theft, as you are just some internet incel.

        1. And it’s more difficult to understand your comment doesn’t make ANY sense whatsoever.

          Passports are not of a big deal here yet you want to make it like it is and called it “common sense.”

          Oh well, same old shit. Enjoy getting banned once again. You never learned a lesson about ethics.

        2. @Darth the Unwise:

          You are so dumb, because you cannot even understand my simple comments in the GRP blog.

          Banking accounts security are the : account number of the account; the statement of deposit; the name and present address of the person. Middle name can also be needed, as well as marital status.

          Darth the unwise, is a YellowTard troll, trying to show himself as an expert in banking security, and other security matters. Unfortunately, he made a fool of himself…

          What a stupid human being !

    3. DARTH MORTIS THE un-WISE. In the Philippines it is easy to get Social Security number. It is as easy as getting a Lotto Ticket.

      You walk up to Social Security System counter. Grab a form. Hand it back. In minutes you get a Social Security number. Do it twice in another location. Do it thrice in another location.

      Getting a driver’s license is easy-peasy. Stand in line. Grab a form. Schedule for exam or a) somebody do the exam for you; b) ready made answer exam for a fee. Snappity-snap-snap for color ID. Wait for a month …. no …. two months … maybe three months …..then you get your driver’s license …. REDO in another location …. WORKS ALL THE TIME …..

      WHY WOULD AN A-HOLE STEAL IDENTITY ALL HE CAN DO IS WALK TO THE NEAREST CEMETERY CHOSE A NAME (because in the Philippines tombstones has name and date of birth and some of them has place of birth) GO TO SOCIAL SECURITY … OR DMV … VOILA ! YOU GET SOCIAL SECURITY OR DRIVER’S LICENSE!!!! PEACHY-EASY (as Trump would say)

      Afraid of identity theft? START WITH THE CEMETERY tombstone is giving enough information to build identity on.

      NOTE: VERY IMPORTANT: Philippine DMV do not ask for Social Security Number. If they ask for Social SEcurity Number they have no way of knowing if SSN is authentic or fake.

  5. FILIPINOS NO FEAR !!! Filipinos have nothing to fear. There is nothing important to steal from Filipinos. 95% of Filipinos earn an average of $400.00/month! Not worth it !!!

    What Filipinos are to fear is when they are before 1stWorld country’s immigration officers. They’d be ask to turn around take the next flight because they are not sure if the person in the passport is a terror-tourists.

  6. FILIPINOS FEAR THEMSELVES … Filipinos have nothing to fear but themselves. Those who are propagating fears are Philippine News + Rappler (ALL FAKE NEWS). Rappler & Philippine Fake News are insinuating that there are money in Filipinos to steal from.

    “According to the latest data from the World Bank’s Global Findex database, only 1.9 percent of Filipinos aged 15 and up owned a credit card in 2017, a decrease from 3.2 percent in 2014 and far below the 21.6-percent average of Asia Pacific, which includes 17 countries across the East Asia and Southeast Asia regions.”

    Even those 1.9 percent are backed-up with 20,000 collateral deposit on average.

  7. Oratio and the rest of you clowns have nothing to fear as you are not important. Just a bunch of nobodies , blindly following benign0’s “analysis” and lapping up your FAKE news

    For the rest of us. Identity theft due to this data breach is a real concern

    1. You’re missing the point. As if passports are such a big deal here just like your tax certificates and your SS or GSIS numbers. It’s not.

      You’re just grasping on straws with your FAKE posts mixed with emotionally-charged drive, not to mention threats. You’re posts are gonna get DELETED in a matter of hours.

    2. Like your fellow Yellow Clowns Risa Hontiveros and Leni Robredo who jumped on on DFA data leak issue not knowing it originated during presidency of Noynoy Aquino?

      Yeah, it’s a concern. A concern that you made up.

    3. DARTH THE UNWISE … you are soooo worried about Filipinos identity theft? There is nothing to steal from Filipinos. If my suki fish vendor identity is stolen what happens next in the context of Philippine setting. CAN YOU REALLY APPLY FOR MORTGAGE AND CREDIT CARD AND BUY A CAR?

      You must be a Filipino living in America working in the underworld paid under-the-table who cannot know checkpoints before you are issued a credit card or mortgage.
      FIRST! YOU GOT TO HAVE A JOB … obviously you do not under the eyes of BLS & IRS definition
      2ndly, Since you do not have documented job you cannot apply for bankrupt Sears Card even
      3rdly, since you do not have the 1st and 2nd THEREFORE YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT REQUIREMENTS TO PRESENT TO GET A CARD IN THE FIRST PLACE that is why you are all yadi yadi yada ABSOLUTELY IGNORANT.

      My crystal ball tells me the CLOSEST YOU HAVE TO A CREDIT CARD IS TANF FOOD STAMP EBT CARD …. AHA! HA! HA! HA! …… HAR! HAR! HAR! HAR!

      YOU CANNOT EVEN APPLY FOR A LIBRARY CARD !!! because you do not have state-issued Identification.

      1. FILIPINOS ARE AFRAID OF AMERICAN LIBRARY it is intimidating for them; 2ndly they do not know how to read books …

        My Pinay GF showed me around where Filipinos hang-out in the East Coast. Then she gave me a tour in Library of Congress. CAVERNOUS LIBRARY !!! It got me thinking, I asked her we go to libraries where there are plenty of Filipinos … WE WENT INSIDE AND THERE WERE NO FILIPINOS only Koreans, Chinese. Indians. Hispanics. And, Whites. N-O F-I-L-I-P-I-N-O-S !!!

        NADA !!!! ZILCH !!!! NIEN !!!!

        We went to another library. Again, No Filipinos. We check at the front double-doors if they have a notice that says: “NO FILIPINOS ALLOWED” there were none. Therefore, Filipinos can go in. But no Filipinos.

        WHY?

        Because Filipinos already believe they are very good in everything. They even corrected my written English and Spellings. WoW! THAT IS WHY THEY DO NOT NEED TO GO TO LIBRARIES.

        Another proof. Where Filipinos live there are no BARNES & NOBLES !!!! Or, mom-and-pop bookstores. BECAUSE IT IS A LOSING PROPOSITION. NO FILIPINOS WOULD EVER VISIT THESE STORES.

        In one of the Filipino parties I went there was a game for the children “show me a picture of your parents for 5 dollars!” Children would run to their parents wallet to get to show first the picture of their parents for 5 dollars.

        I joined the fun. I ask “For ADULTS 10 dollars if you can show me library cards !!!” NOBODY WERE ABLE TO SHOW ME LIBRARY CARDS !!! I got to keep my 10 dollars and my Pinay GF was snickering !!!!

        NOW FOR A FREE JOLLIBEE CHICKEN JOY …. WHO CAN SHOW ME A LIBRARY CARD …. OBVIOUSLY ONE OF THEM IS DARTH-THE-UNWISE …. I bet he doesn’t have a library card …. iF HE SAY SO JUST BECAUSE HE IS A FILIPINO ….. even though he doesn’t have one.

        1. When was this comment written? In the early 90’s before wide use of the internet? The store of current knowledge is no longer the library or bookstore. A few months ago I wanted to read several books published in the late 80s and early 90s. There was no way I was going to find them at my local public library. It was much easier to find them used on Amazon and have them delivered to my home for less than $10 each with shipping. They are mine to keep with no return date. One of the largest and best stocked Barnes & Noble used to be in Westwood near my alma mater. I guess between myself and fellow Pinoy alumni we couldn’t keep that one in business either. We apparently didn’t read enough, nor did the rest of the university community.

          Moral of the story, try not to generalize too much with your “proof”. It makes your comments look uninformed and lacking of common sense about the world in general.

          Yes, many of us will not have your same sense of how the world is. It doesn’t mean we don’t read. It means we have different experiences. You may not like it, but the rest of the world has differing sensibilities, they can all be correct. To each his/her own.

          BTW I let my library card expire a decade ago, it had become useless to me, in the age of home delivery and information on demand. I do have a metro card, costco card and driver’s license. I guess I’m part of the masses, not an elitist.

  8. It takes knowledge to operate an illegal scheme, it takes knowledge, skills, experience, and even an act of bravery to pull up a heist such as robbery. It such a very sad thing that Pilipinos can only use their knowledge only in jobs that harm others and detrimental to the progress of society. Like it or not, people will learn and get knowledge for free. Without formal schooling, an institution that teaches the right way of using knowledge, one can easily disregard morality and apply knowledge the wrong way.

  9. Have you ever thought the difference between passport data and that of facebook? If you are to enter a foreign country, would embassies/immigration accept your facebook info?

  10. I disagree and agree at the same time. This breach should not be taken lightly. Once personal information is out there it can’t be brought back. The information may not be used right away, but it has the potential to be used against the individual. I believe it’s better to have less data, than more data floating around on the web. It could very well be a ticking time bomb, especially if an unscrupulous person already had some parts of your identity and this was the missing piece to complete the full picture.

    I agree that the data involved is not all that useful or actionable. That same data can be gleaned off of many other sources on the internet. We have already given up so much data and personal info that it’s a matter of when, not if identity theft will happen to any one of us.

    Several years back my US and Philippine passport were stolen from my hotel room in Romblon. I quickly filed a police report and had them cancelled and reissued, they were quickly rendered useless for travel. I have kept an eye on my credit reports and no unknown loans or credit cards were ever issued.

    It’s possible that they could have been sold for the data in the chip (US version) or the contents within, but again not that useful. They have since expired, so anyone that resembles me would not be able to use them as an ID at any reputable establishment.

    Did I get lucky that they did not make their way to a person that was more nefarious? Probably.

  11. I recently renewed my Philippine passport at the consulate office in Los Angeles, long story short it was a nightmare this second time around. Having the expiring passport was not enough. I now needed the “official” birth certificate from the revamped PSA. My original birth certificate, with stamp and signature was no longer “official”.

    I applied online, gave some basic information, and paid the fee. Now I have an official photo copy of my original birth certificate. It’s an exact photo copy of my original, but now on colored paper. It didn’t really bother me that I had to pay a fee and wait 2 months. What bothered me is that anyone can put the same information to the PSA website and get an official copy of any person’s birth certificate.

    With the right information anyone can get a copy of your birth certificate and apply for a passport. All is needed if some type of govt photo ID. The hurdle has been lowered, all thanks to the bureaucrats at the PSA that wanted to collect an additional fee. Mark my words… this will be exploited by someone nefarious.

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