Cybercrime Prevention Law
Is it too much?
Let’s continue to be aware, read, learn and be informed.
Republic Act (RA 10175) was approved by PNOY last September 12, 2012. It is an act defining cyber crime, providing for prevention, investigation, suppression and the imposition of penalties therefor and for other purposes.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) shall be responsible for efficient and effective law enforcement of the provisions of this Act. The NBI and PNP shall organize a cyber crime unit or center manned by special investigators to exclusively handle cases involving violations of this Act.
RA 10175 Scope and Penalties
Approved: September 12, 2012
Scope: Punishable acts includes,
Section 4 – Cyber Crime Offenses
(a) Offenses against confidentiality, Integrity and availability of computer data and system
1. Illegal Access
2. Illegal Interception
3. Data Interference
4. System Interference
5. Misuse of Devices
(b) Computer Related Offenses
3. Identity Theft
(c) Content Related Offenses
1. Cyber Sex
2. Child Pornography
3. Unsolicited Commercial Communications
Section 5 – Other Offenses
(a) Aiding or Abetting in the Commission of Cyber Crime
(b) Attempt in the Commission of Cyber Crime
1. For sections 4a and 4b, imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least P200,000 or both.
2. For section 4a5, imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of not more than P500,000 or both.
3. If section 4a are committed in critical infrastructure, penalty of reclusion temporal or a fine of at least P500,000 or both.
4. For section 4c1, imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least P200,000 but not exceeding P1,000,000 or both.
5. For section 4c2, penalties as enumerated in RA 9775 or Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009. 1 degree higher if committed in computer system.
6. For section 4c3, punishment of arresto mayor or a fine of at least P50,000 but not exceeding P250,000 or both
7. For section 5, punishment of 1 degree lower of the prescribed penalty for the offense or a fine of at least P100,000 but not exceeding P500,000 or both.
8. Corporate liability is equivalent to at least double the fines imposable in section 7 up to maximum of P10,000,000.
Number of Chapters: 8
Number of Sections: 31
Effectivity: 15 days after publication on at least 2 national newspapers of general circulation
Benefits of RA 10175
1. Business on the internet are protected with this law.
2. Cyber Sex and Cyber Bullying is now a crime and punishable.
3. Tech knowledge for government will be lift up to combat cyber crimes such as hacking and theft.
I found this interesting article, shared for more information
The following is the prefatory statement to the petition filed by lawyers of the Ateneo Human Rights Center before the Supreme Court, assailing the Cybercrime Prevention Act. Download the full complaint here.)
“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficient. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” (Justice Louis D. Brandeis)
This Petition assails in the strongest terms imaginable what a majority in Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) has drafted and what the Executive, through President Benigno Aquino III, has signed into law. Petitioners humbly come before this august body and most respectfully pray that its Honorable Members, acting collectively as the third great branch of government, exercise their constitutional duty to unanimously CHECK the unconstitutional acts of Congress and the Presidency.
This is a case of transcendental importance, a first of its kind in our history. This will herald the entry of this Honorable Supreme Court into a world of cyber communication that is perpetually active, global and free. According to the 2011 Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report, thirty-three percent (33%) of Filipinos have accessed the internet within the twelve-month period, translating to about thirty-one million (31,000,000) users. There are multi-millions more in other parts of the world, regardless of race, religion, culture and background, knowingly or not, who will be affected by the assailed law and, eventually, by the decision of this Honorable Supreme Court.
As the assailed law will immediately impact on the rights of every Filipino on the Internet – ourselves, our spouses, our children, our parents, our employers, our workers, our traders, our teachers and students – there is urgency in this petition. At the same time, there is urgent need, as well as wisdom, to understanding how the Internet is expanding and evolving our very concepts of free expression.
The world has changed and is changing. It has become smaller. Communications have grown faster and more direct. Thanks to the Internet, people now have direct access to a platform that allows them to communicate with friends and strangers all at once, at the literal click of a button. As one famous blogger and perceptive journalist, Jessica Zafra, described
Whenever something unpleasant happens, be it a terrible meal at an overpriced restaurant or a traffic altercation or the sight of a grown man threatening his son’s classmate or a public official demanding a bribe, we report it on social media and blogs. They’re free, they’re fast, they get the word out before the traditional media does. Newspapers and television networks get information from online media…..We are, in effect, our very own print and broadcast networks. Everyone’s a media mogul.
Communications – messages, ideas, images (whether still or moving), sound – nowadays come in various forms. They can be short or long. They can be made up of whole documents, essays, paragraphs, or even cryptic sentences made up of no more than 140 characters, with no standard whatsoever as to grammar or spelling. Some messages nowadays do not even contain letters. So-called “emoticons” convey a range of emotions without a single character of the alphabet used as an actual letter. For example, consider these emoticons for:
Happiness – 🙂
Sadness/Displeasure – 😦
Love – ❤
Coolness – \m/
For the generations born into these times – or yet not too late to embrace its ways – language, terms, symbols, and speed for conveying have all evolved and continue to evolve, literally on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-by-minute basis. Communication is changing, in fact, with every new message.
On the popular social networking site Twitter, because of an imposed rule for brevity – one can only send messages no more than 140 characters in length – new users would find many of the posts perplexing and cryptic. But more seasoned users think nothing of the new abbreviations and symbols that are born and thrown away by necessity and fashion. On Facebook, which reports of 955 million monthly active users at the end of June 2012, one can express agreement without need for a single key-stroke. A click of a computer mouse-button is enough to “Like” or “Recommend”, and to thereby not only agree, but even to – with the same single act of a mouse click – further spread the very same message “Liked” or recommended.
As with all messages in any traditional or new form, any thought on the Internet may be friendly, offensive, neutral, informative or business-like.
Whichever way they are intended to be received, these messages, and the ability to form and spread them, have given rise to a universal environment that has meaningfully deepened and widened our very own democratic space.
Online Filipinos are enjoying with the rest of the world platforms for expression, education, and empowerment unimagined and hard to fathom for those still tethered to “traditional” media such as newspapers, radio, movies, and even television and mobile telephone. And it is not just their means of communicating that are evolving. With every message sent, received, consumed or even merely scanned, so too are their very concepts of what can or may be conveyed or consumed.
Horizons for thought expand with every new idea. Tolerance is raised for every disagreement that takes place, for every new encounter in cyberspace between and among friends, and, yes, also even involving literal strangers. On the Internet, these interactions take place every second. As radical as that sounds to older, more traditional consumers of news, commentary, and information, children being born or just beginning to be schooled today are exposed to, inoculated to, and strengthened and empowered by, this space where ideas form, clash, spawn, and die by the microsecond.
Quoting herein petitioner Law Professor Melencio Sta. Maria of the Ateneo School of Law, he said
[T]his kind of free-wheeling interaction, though at times very offensive, has developed through time a kind of special tolerance among the interactors. The public has found an accessible direct medium to ventilate their opinions, and people are learning to go beyond offensive opinions and accept them as just another point of view. This is a very healthy development in a democracy where free expression must be actively robust.
As former Justice William Douglas of the United States Supreme Court said a
"…function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance or unrest… There is no room under our Constitution for a more restrictive view. For the alternative would lead to standardization of ideas either by legislatures, courts, or dominant political or community groups." (Terminiello v. Chicago 337 US 1)
Let it not be misconstrued that this petition simply seeks the perpetuation of licentiousness in the enjoyment of computers utilized by multi-millions of netizens in the Philippines and indeed around the world. Surely, the petitioners know that freedom must not be enjoyed for its own sake. It must be exercised with a profound understanding of its responsibilities for the public good. If the sanctity of our fundamental freedoms will be curtailed, the petitioners only seek that it be properly undertaken strictly pursuant to and within the limitations of the BILL OF RIGHTS enshrined in the people’s Constitution.
Republic Act No. 10175 patently disregards this. Important sections of the same violate the due process clause of our constitution, the equal protection of the law clause, the prohibition on illegal seizure, and the double jeopardy proscription. Equally more significant is the law’s violation of the freedom of speech and expression and the right to privacy of communication. The law or some part of it should be struck down as void.
The law’s repugnancy betrays its constitutionality. It disobeys the sovereign command enunciated in Section 10, Article 16 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which provides:
The State shall provide the policy environment for the full development of Filipino capability and the emergence of communication structures suitable to the needs and aspirations of the nation and the balanced flow of information into, out of, and across the country, in accordance with a policy that respects the freedom of speech and of the press.
An editorial by InterAksyon.com, the online news portal of broadcasting network TV5, captures much of petitioners’ concern:
“…The law … explicitly brings the archaic libel law…into the realm of the Internet. [Thus it purports to] settle a question that, prior to [President Aquino’s] signing of the Cybercrime Law, the Philippines and most other democracies were still grappling with, and, to their credit, still allowing to percolate in courts and in space which, and for which, behavior, and ergo policies (even ethics and etiquette), are still in flux. The question being: are social media like Facebook and Twitter platforms for private or public expression?
The Cybercrime Law has answered that question. Anything you do online – writing, posting, sharing, "liking" – is essentially publication and for that matter broadcasting. Nothing is private. Everything is actionable, and potentially criminal.
[Senator Francis] Escudero… says he did not see the provision or did not appreciate its implications. He also did not see additional clauses that aggravate the penalties – greater fines, longer prison terms – for libel when found and proved online. Nor the provision that would allow libel's prosecution twice over, offline and then online, violating Constitutional guarantees against double jeopardy.
And it's retroactive, too, experts now say. Or at least, it will erase the very concept of retroactivity. Because the Internet potentially keeps your posts, tweets, and status updates live in perpetuity – or at least until the Cybercrime law pushes you, as it will, to take everything down – there is no past date beyond which the long arm of the law cannot reach.”
In other words, the assailed law, as soon as it comes into effect, will immediately stifle the freedom of Filipinos to express themselves, in what is by far, the most democratic medium ever created by humankind. It will stifle not only speech, but thought, altering not only words but action. At every turn and at every moment online, Filipinos will have a specter of subsequent punishment hanging over them, effectively acting as prior restraint.
This law, in other words, will not only deprive Filipinos of their constitutionally guaranteed liberties. It will deprive them of their place in the world as it has evolved and continues to evolve. It will deny them their place in a world and time where free expression is not only a right but also integral to the way of living, of competing, of surviving, of being.