DOH denies contact tracing behind recent surge in text scams

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 12) — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday denied contact tracing efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic played a part in the recent rise of spam messages and text scams, many of which already contain full names of recipients.

“We don’t think that that would be a cause or a factor from our contact tracing systems as these contact tracing applications were vetted by the DICT (Department of Information Communications and Technology) as well as the (National) Privacy Commission,” DOH officer-in-charge Ma. Rosario Vergeire told the House appropriations panel.

Vergeire said local government units must adhere to certain requirements and conditions to be able to establish such applications.

“We don’t think that the leakage in personal data came from this kind of contact tracing efforts of the government,” added the Health official.

Former National Telecommunications Commission official Edgar Cabarios earlier told CNN Philippines that contact tracing forms could be among the sources of information used in the fraudulent messages.

READ: Contact tracing, info from firms possible sources of data in text scams - ex-NTC official 

The NPC earlier announced it is probing the surge of these text messages, adding it has coordinated with the NTC on the issue. 

RELATED: NTC directs telcos to blast warnings as text scams now contain subscribers' names