As a blogger , I am often asked for my stand on Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 . My stand on it stays the same as eight months ago when I thought netizens should have been consulted. Eight months ago, I also wanted the bill re-written. Unfortunately, it was passed and the questionable Section 19 was inserted at the Bicam level.
Together with other netizens, we organized Filipino Internet Freedom Alliance (hashtag #FIFAph), a broad coalition of individuals and organizations seeking to amend / remove the provisions which threaten Internet Freedom in Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. In the long-term, it aims to be the bastion of this freedom.
On Tuesday Oct 2, 2012 at 10:00 AM, we will troop to the Supreme Court to file a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) petition. We will use the power of social media to spread the word, and to let the three branches of our government know how we feel about the Cybercrime Prevention Act in its current form.
Statement on the Philippine Cybercrime law
In order to make my stand, I requested Cocoy Dayao to draft a statement. Cocoy is one of Blog Watch bloggers who wrote extensively on internet freedom. Lately , he wrote also about Understanding the Philippine Cybercrime Law.
As editor of Blog Watch, this is my statement on the Cyber Crime Law:
Cybercrimes are real. Cybercrimes happen everyday. Cybercrimes are offenses committed against a person, or a people, a government— threatening national security, for example or a corporation— disrupting financial institutions. Cybercrimes have criminal motivations. Cybercrimes are meant to harm the reputation of a victim. Cybercrimes can cause physical or mental harm to a victim, whether directly, or indirectly using the amazing technology we have around us like The Internet, chat rooms, emails, message boards, groups, social networking, and even through our mobile phones.
There is zero doubt that there is a clear and present need for a cybercrime law. There is no doubt that women’s rights need to be protected. There is no doubt that children need to be protected. There is no doubt that when someone is attacked online, he or she needs to be protected. There is no doubt that fraud, spam, need to be stopped. There is no doubt that government and law enforcement need to be armed to deal with these threats. The need of for a cybercrime law, and the need to protect people’s rights was never in doubt.
Yet, Republic Act 101751, better known as “The Cybercrime Law” that the Congress passed, and was signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III does not give us cause to celebrate. The opposite is true.
The Cybercrime Law as framed in Republic Act 101751 is fundamentally flawed.
1. We believe RA 101751 is a law that demonizes technology.
2. We believe that RA 101751 does not take into account the history, the technology, and the culture that exist in the online world.
3. We believe RA 101751 stifles innovation.
4. We believe RA 101751 only increases the lavish power of Philippine libel, and highlights a grave mistake and calls for a revisiting of Philippine Libel Law. We believe the United Nations Human Rights Committee is correct when it called, Philippine libel law prior to the enactment of RA 101751 as “excessive”.
5. We believe RA 101751 unduly gives the Department of Justice extra-ordinary powers without due process of law to shut down websites on the Internet.
6. We believe RA 101751 is a moralizing law.
We join with groups opposed to the Cybercrime Law to amend, and or repeal the law. We welcome engagement with government, to craft a better law that protect women’s and children; that strive for equal protection for everyone.
Photos via Filipino Internet Freedom Alliace