Twitter reactions: Senate approves Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Senate Bill No. 2796)

Updated January 31 House Representative Antonio L. Tinio (@tonchi) of the ACT Teachers Party-List says the Cybercrime bill in the House of Representatives passed committee level and is awaiting plenary (see House CYBERCRIME BILL-Committee 5.30.11 below)

Senator Edgardo Angara expressed “optimism that Filipinos will be assured a safer cyberspace as the Senate approves upon third reading the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Senate Bill No. 2796).”

Filed by Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, the Cybercrime Prevention Act establishes a legal framework for the investigation, apprehension and prosecution of cyber criminals.

Senator Angara, also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) believes that the Senate approval “sends out a clear message that the Philippines is taking decisive steps not only in safeguarding its digital space, but also in assuring its transition into a full-fledged knowledge-based economy.”

Angara’s press release added more details:

By designating which legal authorities are responsible and appropriating P50 million for its implementation, the measure protects Filipino Web-surfers from such Internet-related crimes as online theft, fraud, hacking, cyber-squatting and child pornography.

The bill also provides for the creation of new government agencies such as the Office of Cybercrime under the Department of Justice (DOJ); a National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) under the Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICTO); and a National Cybersecurity Coordinating Council (NCCC) under the Office of the President.

“The bill will have to undergo bicameral review before it becomes national law, but I am optimistic that our counterparts in the House of Representatives will act as decisively,” explained the veteran lawmaker.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act is one of the triad of ICT measures authored by Angara and being pushed by COMSTE in support among other things for the Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry in the country.

Other ICT-related measures pending in the Senate are the Data Privacy Act and the measure creating a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Senator TG Guingona against the bill

The vote was 13-1, with Senator Teofisto Guingona III voting against the Senate Bill . Guingona objected to the cybersex provision saying that it “legislates morality,” and is unconstitutional. He is against the bill “because it has a prior restraint on freedom of expression, freedom of speech.”

It legislates morality, it tells you what is moral and what is immoral. As a libertarian I feel that is not within the realm of the legislature. No one has the right to say what is moral and what is immoral.

On February 1, Senator Guingona issued a statement in his Facebook

Mr. President, I would like to manifest that I am voting against the bill – mainly because of the provision that defines “cybersex”, [as] I do feel it smacks, runs directly in contravention of the constitutional principle of freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

It is a prior restraint. It legislates morality. It tells us what is moral and what is not moral.

And as a libertarian, Mr. President, I feel that is not within the realm of the legislature. No one has the right to say what is moral and what is immoral and impose it and it make it a crime.

Therefore, Mr. President, I vote against this because it is a prior restraint on the principle of the freedom of expression and freedom of speech. This bill sets us back. Here we are legislating morality. Hindi po puwede ito. Mali po ito, at this is unconstitutional.

Mr. President, the Spanish inquisition has long been disbanded. I do not know why we are reviving it today.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Here is the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Senate Bill No. 2796)
3rd-Reading-Version-Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Senate Bill No. 2796)

House CYBERCRIME BILL-Committee 5.30.11

Some reactions on twitter.