Santiago Files Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom
November 13, 2012
(Check the fact sheet on The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom below)
by: Cecille Soria
Lawmaking of the people, by the people, for the people. With information and communications technology (ICT), what used to be a pipe dream now becomes reality.
On November 12, 2012, Constitution and international law expert and veteran legislator Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed Senate Bill 3327, titled “An Act Establishing a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, Cybercrime Prevention and Law Enforcement, Cyberdefense and National Cybersecurity.” The landmark piece of legislation, filed without much fanfare, was the culmination of voluntary efforts by netizens to craft a law that would truly address the promise and the challenges posed by cyberspace and ICT to the country.
Known as the MCPIF to the netizens who helped craft the Bill, the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom is anchored on four interdependent components:
The MCPIF protects the civil and political rights of Filipinos, ensuring that these rights enshrined in the Constitution are recognized and promoted in cyberspace. Economic rights and consumer rights, especially as affected by the use of the Internet and information and communications technologies, are likewise promoted and upheld.
The MCPIF promotes ICT in governance, which translates to an empowered citizenry, a more efficient and responsive government, and more effective use and distribution of resources.
The MCPIF provides government agencies with the mandate and the means to harness ICT for national development, thus promoting Philippine economic growth and ensuring Filipinos remain competitive in the information age.
The MCPIF prepares Philippine law enforcement agencies and the armed forces for the current and emerging security challenges of the information age. By equipping law enforcement with the capability to prevent, detect, and respond to cybercrimes and through the strengthening of Philippine national defense and intelligence capability, the Philippines will be able to protect its critical infrastructure, and its vulnerability to attacks by cyber-terrorists and rogue or enemy states will be reduced.
While Philippine civil society groups have had their own brand of crowdsourced legislation, this marks the first time that unaffiliated citizens from diverse political persuasions, brought together by love of country and technology have cooperated to craft legislation. The MCPIF is certainly worth watching not only because it is a landmark piece of legislation on cyberspace and ICT but because it is a test case for crowdsourced lawmaking.