Ten Things You Need to Know about the Cybercrime Law

Ten Things You Need to Know about the Cybercrime Law
An Official Statement of Karapatan Bikol

1. Republic Act No. 10175 or the Anti-Cybercrime Law was passed last September 12, 2012, signed by our President Benigno Aquino III. Its main proponent is Senator Edgardo Angara.

According to Senator Angara,
“This measure will deter people from committing crimes because the virtual world will no longer be a lawless realm. Its enactment sends out a strong message to the world that the Philippines is serious about keeping cyberspace safe.”

2. During the bill’s third reading, Sen. Sotto proposed to include Section 19 in the law; one of its provisions is ‘Online Libel’.

According to Raissa Robles, blogger and lawyer,
“No congressional public hearing was ever held on libel in the Internet. This section on libel has grave implications for freedom of speech on the Internet. People who post on Facebook, Twitter and write comments in news websites can be sued for libel in much more insidious ways than those in the traditional news media.”

3. Penalty for those who committed crimes via online is one degree higher. While the law is unclear how libel is actually committed over the internet. Double jeopardy is even allowed, meaning you can be charged with libel twice (one for the internet and one for regular publication).

4. Offense of libel via cybercrime law cover computer systems, this includes cellphone and storage devices as well “as any other similar means which may be devised in the future.” By this, even ordinary conversations over text, tweets, shares, comments, are a target of imposition of the State’s immense powers.

5. Cybercrime law violates our privacy. On the basis of due cause, the law permits the government to monitor and record real time traffic data. We now have our government, watching our activities over the internet. This law also allows Department of Justice – Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation to conduct data gathering without warrant.
6. In addition to number five, Cybercrime law violates free speech. Now, the government can take down websites, restrict and block access to computer data by mere prima facie evidence, meaning, it establishes a fact but is not a conclusive evidence of its existence.
7. By creating a new offense called, ‘cybercrime through data interference’, this law can be used to attack freedom of expression. Alteration of electronic photos for memes or posters can be punished under this law. Cyberspace is a wide and complex avenue, this law does not state whether “authority” is based on who created it or by mere interest therein.

8. Non-compliance of the provisions of Cybercrime law penalizes anyone, even if the failure to comply is valid. This is equivalent to imprisonment or a fine of Php 100,000.

9. While six petitions have been filed at Supreme Court to stop the implementation of such law, SC disregard people’s appeal and did not release Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). Presidential spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda defended the cybercrime law, “…freedom of expression is not absolute.”

10. According to United Nation Human Rights Council, internet freedom is a basic human right that all people should be allowed to express themselves freely and openly online, without fear of being disconnected.


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