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Joanna Christine R.

Maez FORENSC S23 Cybercrime Law The Cybercrime Law, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act 10175, was signed into law last September 12, 2012 to combat the misuse, abuse, and illegal access of computer information or data. Republic Act 10175 (2012) is an act defining cybercrime, providing for the prevention, investigation, suppression and the imposition of penalties therefor and for other purposes. The Electronic Commerce Law or the Republic Act 8792 on the other hand, was signed into law last June 14, 2000. Republic Act 8792 (2000) is an act providing for the recognition and use of electronic commercial and non-commercial transaction and documents, penalties for unlawful use thereof and for other purposes. The Cybercrime Law aims to combat illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference, misuse of devices, cyber-squatting, computer-related forgery, computerrelated fraud, computer-related identity theft, cybersex, child pornography, unsolicited commercial communications, aiding or abetting in the commission of cybercrime, attempt in the commission of cybercrime, all crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technology, and corporate liability. The E-Commerce Law on the contrary, provides legal recognition of commercial and non-commercial electronic documents, electronic data messages, and electronic signatures. It decrees drawbacks for piracy of protected materials through the use of telecommunication networks and for hacking of computer programs. And it decrees grounds for liability of service providers (World Intellectual Property Organization, n.d.). In a nutshell, on the grounds that technology emerges relentlessly, computer-related crimes proliferate and therefore the E-Commerce law was inadequate that it does not obscure other cybercrimes. And that is why the Cybercrime law was formulated and was approved. The Cybercrime Law is advantageous to some Filipinos particularly to the victims of such crimes mentioned above. One popular instance is the case of Senator Tito Sotto who was recently cyber-bullied for plagiarizing in his speeches on the Senate. In fact, he is the one who inserted libel as a content-related offense in this law. With the newly approved law, violators of libel committed through a computer system, if proven in court, will be punished with one degree higher than what the Revised Penal Code as amended, thus, protecting people who are cyber-bullied and lost on how to fight for their rights online. Likewise, this law ensures every users protection from hackers, identity thieves, cyber-squatters, and from people who practice cybersex and child pornography, as stated by Senator Edgardo Angara, the principal author of the bill and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. However, there is a major concern to most Filipinos. Because of the penalty of online libel, this law could be used to silence critics online, therefore, this law restraint on the principle of the freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Restraining it, leads to threatening Filipinos freedom of information as well. Similar with my previous example with Sen. Sotto, if he wasnt cyber-bullied, if people chose to remain silent, then less people will know that he plagiarized some of his speeches, which can greatly affect the election as well. Moreover, privacy is another issue with this law. As stated in Republic Act 10175 (2012) under section 12, the law enforcement authorities can collect real-time data from the people, without the need of a warrant properly issued by a court. Furthermore, as stated in section 19, the Department of Justice has the power to take down websites, blogs, and accounts warrantless. As Tonyo Cruz

stated (2012), Cybercrime Law destroys Internet Freedom. With these unfavourable circumstances, do they still consider the country democratic? Can this law be considered as a martial law on the Internet? Overall, this law has good intent. It just provides justice to the victims of cybercrimes and entails criminals to yield accountability for their actions. What is immoral about the law is that, the fact that it limits our freedom and it violates our right of privacy. In addition, there are some basis of worrying about the law, in particular with online libel. One of which is, evidence can be falsified. A criminal liable for a cybercrime can be under a fake name, or unknown. If the criminal pretends to be someone, will that someone be sued for libel? How do truly innocent people defend themselves? What are the acceptable evidences on court? Are images, or screen captures considered as evidences despite the fact that it might just be altered? In addition, some provisions of the law is ambiguous. Like for instance, are the people who wrote articles, or blogs, or posts, allowing other people to comment on, are held responsible or can be sued for those comments appearing on their sites? Another instance is, what if the person to be sued for libel uses a local computer shop or a laptop connected to a wireless LAN? The countrys technology is not that advance compared to other countries, but as Sen. Angara (2012) said, By passing this law, we are encouraging the use of cyberspace for information, recreation, learning and commerce. Freedom of the people is limited ever since because if it wasnt, the country will cascade into a nation of anarchy. References: Cruz, Tonyo (September 2012). Aquinos Cybercrime Law destroys Internet freedom. Retrieved 23, September, 2012 from Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, 15th Cong., 2nd Sess. (2012). Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, 11th Cong., 2nd Sess. (2000). Palatino, Mong (September 2012). Philippines: Anti-Cybercrime Law Threatens Media Freedom Retrieved 23, September, 2012 from World Intellectual Property Organization (n.d.). Electronic Commerce Act(Republic Act No. 8792). Retrieved 23, September, 2012 from