Netizens seek probe on cryptocurrency player

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A network of digital advocates has appealed to concerned government agencies to initiate an independent investigation into the alleged data breach of online cryptocurrency platform Binance.

“If found to be violative of the provisions of Data Privacy law, Binance must be penalized by the Philippine government. We must act swiftly as more user data information may be compromised in the coming days,” said Digital Pinoys national campaigner Ronald Gustilo said in a statement.

Gustilo, who previously worked as an advocacy consultant for various government agencies and legislative offices, warned that sensitive Information being sold online is susceptible to identity theft and is subject to various forms of scams.

“It is our utmost concern to immediately find out if Filipino user data is among those compromised in the Binance data breach,” he said.

Gustilo earlier wrote the National Privacy Commission, urging the NPC to inquire into the possibility that the data of Filipino Binance users may be included in the breach. In its letter-request to the Commission, he noted that Binance is operating in the Philippines without the necessary permits from the Philippine Government.

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He claimed Binance was operating freely in the Philippines without securing the necessary permits from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Former Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III warned the public about dealing with non-registered entities such as Binance.

“Binance should not be even allowed to operate in the Philippines in the first place. Should there be Filipino user data included in the breach, they should be held liable for it. About 3.4 million Filipinos are at risk here. The mere fact that the CEO did not mention which Asian country has been the particular subject of the breach is a cause for concern for us,” Gustilo said.

He stressed Binance’s alleged “bad business practice” of operating without the necessary permits should not be tolerated as the government is seeking to collect taxes from legitimate businesses operating in the Philippines.

“As digital advocates, we are concerned that letting them operate will create a situation that businesses that are domiciled abroad can operate locally without the necessary permits and will remain untouchable even if they mishandle user data. This is also unfair to businesses which go through stringent scrutiny to secure their permits.”

Binance chief executive officer Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao has announced on Twitter that they have detected Binance user data was being sold in the dark web.

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