The Importance of Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in Protecting Personal Data


Indonesia, online

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, a major digital transformation has taken place, driving new trends in digital communication, transaction and business. Remote work has been expanded by many organisations and companies to uphold corporate functions. As many people have had to adapt to the digital processes, some concerns have arisen, such as privacy issues. The subject of data protection has been discussed more frequently in recent years, but the crisis has made the problem more topical than ever.

In the framework of the International Data Privacy Day 2021, the Alliance for Integrity, together with its partners Indonesia Business Links, Transparency International Indonesia and the Indonesia Global Compact Network, hosted a panel discussion entitled “Digitalisation and Integrity: Data Privacy in Times of Covid-19”. The event was part of the Integrity Talks Series in Indonesia aiming to provide an open platform to discuss experiences, best practices and lessons learnt on data protection, especially in times of crisis. The panel consisted of representatives from the Indonesian Government, private sector, civil society and public institutions.

Wahyuningdiah Trisari, Head of Information and Technology at Paramadina University and moderator of the session opened the event with the guiding question: “What is personal data and why is it worth protecting?”. Personal data can be summarised as all information that can directly or indirectly identify individuals, for example name, age, gender and religious affiliation. Data protection is required whenever personal data is interacted with beyond the knowledge of the data subject. In general, human rights and data protection are closely related. “It has become the responsibility of the state to protect data protection as an embodiment of human rights principles”, stated Hendri Sasmita Yuda, Coordinator for Personal Data Protection at the Ministry of Communications and Informatics.

In line with this, the Indonesian Government has implemented national regulations on data protection. However, these will not be effective if the private sector and the public do not contribute equally. The private sector has a role to play in adapting data protection regulations to their business and in creating mechanisms to protect the privacy of their employees and customers.

“Another important aspect is the available technology and goodwill of companies to implement data protection policies. Businesses need to demonstrate their commitment at the institutional level by appointing data protection officers”, highlighted Sudaryatmo, representative of the Indonesian Consumer Organisation (YLKI).

The private sector can also play a crucial role in raising public awareness about data issues. As an example, Maryadi Windu, representative of PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel), suggested the creation of customer-friendly, easy-to-understand data protection regulations to make customers aware of the protection of their data. Compliance, transparency and integrity in the processing, storage and protection of data are very important to ensure a minimum of data breach cases, especially in times of crisis when companies have to act in a challenging environment. These principles should not only be applied to large companies, but also to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which equally interact with data in their daily business activities.

The public needs to be digitally literate and aware of data protection issues, especially in online activities. Often, fraudsters exploit a lack of digital awareness to pursue their ends. It is a challenge for governments, the private sector, the media and academic institutions to build awareness for the protection of personal data. Some of the recommendations for awareness-raising measures shared by Indriyatno Banyumurti, Programme Manager of ICT Watch, are the creation of personal data protection modules, interactive trainings, online courses and the installation of innovative art galleries as part of the public's digital literacy empowerment.

Jeffrey Cheung, Chair of the Advisory Group Indonesia, concluded the event: “While digital transformation continues to change rapidly, a tipping point between efficiency and security needs to be reached to build trust in public and private institutions.” As global initiative, the Alliance for Integrity will continue to provide a platform where all stakeholders can come together to discuss the latest challenges in the economic system, including those of the digital economy.

Author: Alhayyu Shafira Wahyu Putri

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