AFK (Away From Keyboard)
In this modern time and age, there are more or less 300,000,000 Filipinos using the internet. Almost all of us have different accounts on different social networking sites. Most of us uses the internet everyday and dependent on it. That being AFK is hard and we wanted to go back every now and then. It’s like having an internet connection is a necessity. That when it’s down, the human being also feels down. Every one using it has their purpose, some for leisure, some for work, for research, etc.
Because of the growing population of Filipino netizens, such internet usage can be subject to abuse. I myself was a victim of hacking which made my yahoo! account inaccessible. It was really hard because I don’t know how to recover my important documents saved on that account. And it has been said that people (but not all) will just give concern or interest on something until they themselves was being affected by it. Since many are already using the internet, like me, we are now concern on how to protect ourselves from the not so good effects of using one, which includes cybercrimes.
Our legislators made a law to help us in giving solutions to our cyber-related problems. The Cybercrime law was enacted. Among the cybercrime offenses included in the law are cybersquatting, cybersex, child pornography, identity theft, illegal access to data and libel. But the passing of the said law gave rise to different protests.
After the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 came into effect on 3 October 2011, six days later, after Filipinos made #NoToCyberCrimeLaw trend on Twitter, turned their profile pictures on Facebook and Twitter black in protest, and submitted 15 separate petitions to the Supreme Court questioning the law’s constitutionality, the Supreme Court suspended its implementation – for 120 days.1
Here are some of the provisions of the said law and the reasons why people reacted negatively form it:
Section 4( c ) (4)- on online libel which violates the freedom of expression and gives the government too much power over the internet users.
Section 6- it adopts the entire penal code, if the crime is committed by the use of information technology, but the penalty shall be one degree higher. It results to a discrimination against online crimes.
Section12- on the Real Time Collection of Traffic Data2 , as it violates the right to privacy.
Section 19- Restricting or blocking access to computer data or the “take-down clause” as it violates the right to due process.
Due to the said loopholes of the cybercrime law, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago urged the Senate to pass a bill she filed calling it the “anti-cybercrime law version 2.0”. This bill is the latest among efforts of lawmakers to correct the law. And for me, this one is BETTER than the Cybercrime law.
The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom is better because it improves and clarifies the ambiguities of the Cybercrime laws. Here are some of the provisions of the bill which will fill in to the loopholes of the law:
To answer for the ambiguity of Section 4( c ) (4) of Cybercrime law- on online libel, Section 33 provides for the internet libel, hate speech, child pornography and other expression inimical to the public interest.
“The [Magna Carta] does not suffer from overbreadth and vagueness in its provisions on libel, unlike the law it tries to replace. In fact, it treats libel as a civil liability rather than a criminal act, which is a step forward in the move to decriminalize libel,” Senator Santiago said.3
The Magna Carta also provides for the exceptions to internet libel. 4 As compared to the Cybercrime law which merely stated that libel, on whatever acts and form will be punishable, thus depriving the people of their freedom of expression.
Section 33 specifies acts when a person could be held liable for online libel, hate speech, child pornography and other expressions making it not broad as what Cybercrime law suffers with.
Thus, the critics of politicians and celebrities will fear no more for possible harassments because of the vague and broad application of cybercrime law on online libel.
To address to Section 6 of R.A 10175 which adopts the whole Revised Penal Code. Chapter 8 of the Magna Carta provides for the specific penalties for different offenses thus moving away from the discriminatory penalties on online crimes. Section 35 also provides that nomenclature of book 1 of the Revised Penal Code should apply suppletorily only to the provisons of this Act.
There is no all-encompassing provision anymore on the Magna Carta as it specifies which among the crimes stated in the RPC will be considered as a crime under this Act.
On Section 12 of Cybercrime law, which allows the warrantless real-time of traffic data violates the right to due process and the Constitutional guarantee against illegal search and seizure. This was however, remedied by the Magna Carta, by providing strict guidelines for any collection of any data, including the securing of warrants, obligating notification, and limiting seizure to data and excluding physical property.4
The Magna Carta does not have the “take-down clause” which provides that when a computer data is prima facie found to be in violation of the provision of Cybercrime Law,the DOJ shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such computer data. By a prima facie, on its face, or “simpleng hinala observation, the authorities can issue such order to restrict or block access. This is in violation of the right to due process. On the other hand, the said bill proposed by Senator Santiago requires for court proceedings in cases where websites or networks are to be taken down, and prohibits censorship of content without a court order. This may be more time consuming, but this is better than to deprive a person which might be an innocent one on his right to due process.
On double jeopardy- The senator said the Magna Carta prohibits double jeopardy, unlike the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
She said under the Act, people can be prosecuted for violations against it, and for those under the Revised Penal Code and special laws even though the offenses are from a single act.3
S.B. No 3327 also seeks to clarify the mandate and organization of the proposed Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the creation of which is currently pending before Congress.
“Because of the broad range of responsibilities related to the enforcement of laws governing ICT, a department-level office should be established and its functions and jurisdiction should be clear-cut,” Senator Miriam said.
The Magna Carta prepares the proposed DICT, law enforcement agencies, and the military with provisions for handling cybercrimes. Section 47 of the bill provides amendments to the AFP Modernization Act to ensure the country has weapons and defenses against cyberattacks by terrorists, violent non-state actors, and rogue or enemy nation-states. The bill’s Section 48, on the other hand, mandates the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to combat cyberterrorism.7
Child abuse and human trafficking5 committed through the internet are also being punished under the said bill which is not present in RA 10175.
It also has amendments to the AFP Modernization Act to ensure the country has weapons and defenses against cyberattacks.
The Magna Carta also has a comprehensive provision on mandating the police and the National Bureau of Investigation to combat cyberterrorism6.
Senator Santiago’s bill also enables the country to harness ICT for national development by ensuring government agencies are keeping up with the realities of and advances in information technology, such as those involving consumer welfare and copyright laws.7
Senator Santiago says the country needs a more effective cyberlaw because information and communications technology (ICT) and the Internet are drivers of economic growth. According to a 2012 report by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, the information technology outsourcing (ITO) industry, and other outsourcing industries, also known as knowledge worker industries, which are strongly dependent on fast and reliable ICT and Internet networks, have contributed USD 11B in export revenues, or an estimated 5.4% contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Philippines in 2011.
If passed into law, S.B. No. 3327 will be the first law to be created through “crowdsourcing.” Crowdsourcing is an online process of getting work done by tapping people on the Internet who volunteer their talent and skills.
According to Santiago, a group of concerned netizens–composed of software designers, IT specialists, academics, bloggers, engineers, lawyers, human rights advocates–approached her office with a draft of the MCPIF. The group formulated the MCPIF through discussions in an open Facebook group, email, Google Hangout teleconferences, and social media channels like Twitter.
I like the this law was drafted by concerned citizens, helping each other, open for everyone and was able to exchange ideas so as to meet the demands and needs of the netizens. The way the Magna Carta was drafted, as I was able to read from http://www.propinoy.net/2012/11/26/crowdsourcing-the-story-of-the-drafting-of-the-magna-carta-for-philippine-internet-freedom/ was not easy. The fact that people has spoken, concerned private citizens gave their opinions through the social networking site is a good start. Of course a legislator is needed for the said draft to be passed as a bill, and looking for one which is willing to help develop the law is hard. But nevertheless they were able to convince Senator Santiago and her staff to help them in filing the bill.
This Magna Carta for Internet Freedom is better than the Cybercrime law by reasons stated above. For me, aside from those reason, the Magna Carta is better because we can simultaneously make cyber criminals liable while protecting the rights of the people. It is a win win situation if you’re not a cyber criminal. The cyberspace will be a better place for there will be a rule that will give limitations to the abused power of the netizens.
Before, I don’t believe that any Cybercrime law can be successful in attaining its objective because the law might be hard to execute. For what if the offender is an untraceable netizen? This is why people commits cybercrime, because it is easy for them to just hide their identity and change locations so that the IP address would vary. But provisions on its execution was provided for by the bill. And according to Atty. Disini, an Internet law expert, since 2000 the NBI was engaged on trainings that will can help them execute cybercrime law effectively. It also has been said, as an evidence of the result if the training, that the person who posted the Hayden Kho videos was traced by them. So I just have to trust the law enforcers that they will do their job. Albert Einstein once said that, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.” The Magna Carta provided for procedures, and the law enforcers should execute it according to the best of their ability.
We are in need of a cybercrime law but we, as individual netizens should also do our part. We have the right to enjoy our freedom of expression and all the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. But with this right, we must also know our limits. We must all be a responsible citizen. We can write whatever we want but we must not enjoy such right as to injure other people. We must post things, tweets, blogs, picture that will not damage other people and even yourself.
B. F. Skinner on Contingencies of Reinforcement, said that “The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.” The use of the internet might give rise to cybercrimes. As what I have learned from my grade 4 teacher, it was said that “the computer will not think for you”. It is still the human beings who provides for information or data in the computer. If people will not use their intelligence in using the internet for valuable purposes, the internet will just follow, it cannot stop the people from abusing one.
The Temporary Restraining order or the suspension of the Cybercrime law will lapse on January 28. After this, the lawyers that were tasked to represent the anti-cybercrime groups during the oral arguments will have their mock session. Each counsel will have a maximum of 10 minutes to present his arguments. It will be followed by the SC Justices’ interpellation. Then the government’s side, through the Solicitor-General, will present its side on the Cybercrime Law on January 22. And After both parties make their arguments, they will submit their respective memorandum to the High Court. Ideally, the High Tribunal should render its decision after the memoranda have been submitted. 8
The Magna Carta sets for the limits on how far we can enjoy the use of the internet. The things that we used to do freely, might soon be punishable. Moreover, are we going to allow RA 10175 to make us Away From Keyboard? I doubt it. Let’s fight! And support the Magna Carta for Internet Freedom.
1. Section 12 Real-Time Collection of Traffice Data- Law enforcement authorities, with due case, shall be authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system.
4. AA. Exceptions to internet libel. – The following acts shall not constitute internet libel:
a) Expressions of protest against the government, or against foreign governments;
b) Expressions of dissatisfaction with the government, its agencies or instrumentalities, or
its officials or agents, or with those of foreign governments;
c) Expressions of dissatisfaction with non-government organizations, umons,
associations, political parties, religious groups, and public figures;
d) Expressions of dissatisfaction with the products or services of commercial entities;
e) Expressions of dissatisfaction with commercial entities, or their officers or agents, as
related to the products or services that the commercial entities provide;
f) Expressions of a commercial entity that are designed to discredit the products or
services of a competitor, even if the competitor is explicitly identified;
g) An expression made with the intention of remaining private between persons able to
access or view the expression, even ifthe expression is later released to the public; and,
h) A fair and true report, made in good faith, without any comments or remarks, of any judicial, legislative or other official proceedings, or of any statement, report or speech delivered in said proceedings, or of any other act performed by public officers in the exercise of their functions, or of any matter of public interest.
5. Section 33. Internet Libel, Hate Speech, Child Pornography, and Other Expressio Inimical to the Public Interest
- C.4. Internet child abuse. – The performance of acts prohibited by Section 9 of the
Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, as amended,
by means of a device, storage medium, network equipment, or physical plant connected to theInternet or to telecommunications networks shall be deemed unlawful.
6. Section 34. Sabotage of critical networks and infrastructure, and other acts ofcyberterrorism.