[Statement] Rights group expresses concern over reported anomalous DICT disbursements -FMA

The Foundation for Media Alternatives expresses grave concerns over the alleged misuse of confidential funds by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the purpose of conducting surveillance activities.

On Monday, February 3, former DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, Jr. confirmed his resignation from the agency, citing the lack of transparency in the disbursement of Php 300 million in confidential funds as one reason for his departure. His revelation is corroborated by official documents from the Commission on Audit which have flagged irregularities in the release of cash advances described as “confidential expenses in connection with cybersecurity activities.”

As a civil society organization committed to the protection of human rights in the Philippines, we find these reports deeply unsettling, especially since unlawful and unfettered government surveillance practices are an anathema to fundamental civil liberties and often result in graver human rights violations. To protect citizens against such threats, the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance dictate that any measure of surveillance from the State should observe the highest level of transparency and legal oversight possible. The irregularities committed by the DICT, if proven to be true, directly contravene this standard.

These allegations of fund misuse for the purpose of surveillance are particularly troubling given the current political landscape, which is already populated with accounts and proposals of unregulated state spying. On top of the national ID system, there are existing policy proposals to enhance government surveillance capabilities (e.g., Foreign Electronic Surveillance Act, amendments to both the Human Security Act and the anti-wiretapping law, and the anti-subversion law), and the increasing militarization of government agencies.

Read more @www.fma.ph

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.