De Lima expressed alarm over surge of spam text messages, urges swift and serious investigation on the matter


Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima expressed alarm over the reported surge of text messages containing spam, including sketchy job offers that promised high salaries, as it not only raises data privacy concerns but also compromises the country’s contact tracing efforts. 

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, urged the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to conduct a serious and prompt investigation on the matter.

“Recently, people aired their complaints in social media about being flooded with spam text messages. Aside from data privacy concerns, what’s equally alarming is the impact on the government’s COVID-19 response as some are now hesitant to share their personal information on contact-tracing applications, blaming these as the reason why they are receiving spam messages,” she said.

“The NPC should urgently find the culprits behind these spam text messages, lest people further lose trust on the government’s contact-tracing efforts. Are people’s data being sold to third parties? We need answers,” she added.

Recently, SMS offering high-paying part-time jobs have been circulating, with some netizens sharing screen shots of said messages on social media. Recipients suspect that their phone numbers might have been leaked from contact-tracing forms and apps required when entering establishments.

“My phone number for contact-tracing is now flooded with spam text. Reason you can’t trust the government or anyone with your information,” Manila Times editor Jing Garcia said.

Roren Chin, chief of NPC’s public information and assistance division, reportedly said NPC has no sufficient information yet on this alarming incident but clarified that they are currently investigating it. 

Sa hirap ng buhay ngayon, marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nalilinlang ng mga modus, lalo pa sa kagustuhang agarang guminhawa ang sitwasyon ng pamilya at mga mahal sa buhay. Ayaw na nating magpatuloy pa ang ganitong nakakabahalang gawain, na maaari pang bumiktima at lalong magbaon sa marami sa hirap at kawalan ng pag-asa,” said De Lima.

She further reminded people to “always be vigilant and don’t click links that are suspicious to make sure that your data and privacy will not be compromised.”

De Lima filed Proposed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 934 last October urging Congress to investigate the reported sale of text blast machines on Facebook (marketplace) Philippines and e-commerce companies, such as Lazada and Shopee, which are being used for partisan political activities.

In the said resolution, De Lima underscored the need to strengthen “The Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act” and prevent the use of text blast machines not intended for emergency use. (30)

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
Rm. 502 & 16 (New Wing 5/F) GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Diokno Blvd., Pasay City

Trunk Lines:
(632) 552-6601 to 70 local no. 5750

Direct Lines:
807-8489 / (Rm. 16) 807-8580 /local 8619

© 2019 Office of Sen. Leila de Lima. All rights reserved.