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There's an 'anti-selfie' bill in Congress -capturing any type of visual image, sound recording or

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News other physical impression of a person or family activity


Posted at 08/28/2014 10:51 AM | Updated as of 08/29/2014 through the use of a visual or auditory enhancement device
3:21 AM even when no physical trespass has occurred, when the
visual image, sound recording or other physical impression
MANILA - If you're the type of person who enjoys taking could not have been captured without a trespass if no
random snapshots of people, places, things and even the enhancement device was used.
ubiquitous selfies and groupies and then posting them on
social media, better be careful. Section 4 of the bill says any person whose personal
privacy was intruded as defined may in a civil action
According to Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, there's a bill against the person who committed the intrusion, obtain any
in Congress that seeks to bar taking photos of people appropriate relief, including compensatory damages,
without their permission. punitive damages, and injunctive and declaratory relief.

House Bill 4807 or the Protection against Personal Any person obtaining relief may be either the person
Intrusion Act is now up for 3rd reading in plenary. whose visual or auditory impression has been captured or
the owner of the private property trespassed to capture the
It defines "intrusion of personal privacy" as "any person visual image, sound recording or other physical impression
who willfully intrudes into the personal privacy of another, of another.
without the consent of that person and with the intent to
gain or profit therefrom, shall be civilly liable to the offended "The fact that no visual image , sound recording or other
party." physical impression of a person was actually sold for gain
or profit shall not be available as a defense in any civil
"HB 4807 will create a chilling effect on media and would action or proceeding for the enforcement of the provisions
especially affect citizen journalism. It would punish with civil of this act," the bill explained.
suit taking photos,video or even audio recording anything
claimed as a personal/ family matter even of public officials The only exemption from this act are legitimate law
and personalities," Zarate said. enforcement activities.

"Even an innocuous selfie with public figures at the The bill is authored by Congressmen Rufus Rodriguez,
background would be liable for 'intrusion of privacy'. This is Maximo Rodriguez, Jorge Almonte, Gwendolyn Garcia,
absurd and we urge our colleagues to reconsider," he Linabelle Ruth Villarica, Lito Atienza and Leopoldo Bataoil.
added.
NO MORE SELFIES, PAPARAZZI?
According to HB 4807, the following acts are considered an
intrusion into the personal privacy of another and shall be Critics said the bill has wide ranging implications on press
presumed to have been committed with the intent to gain or freedom and even social media.
profit.
Jose Torres Jr., board member of the Photojournalists
-capturing by a camera or sound recording instrument of Center of the Philippines (PCP), Inc., said the bill needs to
any type of visual image, sound recording or other physical define what "intent to gain or profit therefrom" means.
impression of the person
"It would seem that people from the media and journalists
-trespassing on private property in order to capture any can be targets of the proposed measure. Worthy of being
type of visual image, sound recording or other physical emphasized is the phrase 'with intent to gain or profit
impression of any person therefrom.' In case a complaint is filed in court against a
photojournalist, can lack of intent to gain be used as
defense?
"It must be clearly defined what can be classified for 'gain' "We worry that this proposed measure can become a tool
or 'profit.' News outfits - newspapers, magazines, that 'unwilling public figures' will use to suppress press
television, online publications, radio, and news wire freedom."
agencies - are basically for profit organizations. There must
be clear provisions that specify that news gathering must Anti-selfiebilfailstoclickinHouse,issentbacktocommittee
be exempted from this section," he added. By DJ Yap |Philippine Daily Inquirer
6:54 am | Friday, September 12th, 2014
The group said it wants media to be exempted from the
coverage of the proposed law. MANILA,PhilippinesA proposed measure dubbed the
anti-selfie bill and which seeks to protect private persons
"We suggest to add the qualification 'unless this is done in from intrusive cameras has lost support in the House of
the practice of a media professional in the interest of public Representatives following stiff opposition from the media.
interest.' If we limit Sec 3 a, Sec 3 c will then apply only to On Wednesday, House Bill No. 4807, which was on the
the protection of privacy clause." verge of passage on third reading, was sent back to the
public information committee for further deliberation.
The group is also pushing for a definition of "private At least two lawmakers, including committee chair Misamis
property." Occidental Rep. Jorge Almonte, withdrew their
coauthorship of the bill, possibly derailing its enactment for
"Private property must be spelled out and defined. Public good.
places, cars, public transport, public buildings, among Its back to square one, principal author Cagayan de Oro
others, and individuals, who by nature of their position or Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said Thursday.
profession are classified as public figures, cannot claim Almonte said he was withdrawing as one of the six
violation of privacy. Does 'personal privacy' extend to public coauthors of HB 4807, the Protection against Personal
domain or public places in private spaces, for instance Intrusion Act, to ensure an impartial discussion on its
malls, shopping centers, events venues, a luxurious resort, merits in the committee.
among others?" He explained that his coauthorship of the measure had
been automatic after the committee finished its report on
On the matter of capturing any type of visual image, the the bill.
group said this provision can affect journalists who use Another coauthor, Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, had
modern legitimate tools of news gathering like drones with also withdrawn support for the bill.
cameras or telephoto lenses. Almonte said the bill would take a back seat to more
pressing House matters, including the 2015 national
The group proposed that news and visual storytelling that budget, the freedom of information bill and the
fall into educating, warning, exposing incidents and events Bangsamoro Basic Law.
that will benefit the majority of society must be exempted Rodriguez said he did not mind the two withdrawals but
because interest groups can use provisions of the law to admitted the measure would have an uphill climb back to
put enterprising journalists in tough situations. the plenary floor.
Even so, he said, he hoped discussions would continue on
The group also wants a corresponding provision of penalty his proposal, particularly its original intent.
for grave use of authority and clear use of provisions of the Originally the bill sought to prohibit the taking of pictures for
law for harassment of journalists. profit of private persons in their private moments, including
trespassing onto their property and using zoom lenses on
their cameras to capture such images.
"Our apprehension is based on the premise that the act
Intrusion into privacy
being made punishable by this proposed measure is not
But the final version of the measure that made it to the
clearly defined to the point that many acts can be
plenary would punish any person who willfully intrudes into
considered 'malum prohibitum' or conducts that constitute
the personal privacy of another, without the consent of that
an unlawful act only by virtue of statute as opposed to
person and with intent to gain or profit therefrom.
conduct evil in and of itself."
Intrusions into privacy, according to the bill, include taking another, without the consent of that person and with the
pictures, videos or sound recordings of another person, intent to gain or profit therefrom, shall be civilly liable to the
trespassing on private property to take the picture, video or offended party.
sound recording, or using enhancement devices (zoom) to
do so. HB 4807 will create a chilling effect on media and would
This prompted Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate to label the especially affect citizen journalism. It would punish with civil
measure the anti-selfie bill, a tag that brought wide suit taking photos,video or even audio recording anything
attention to the previously unheard of measure. Selfie claimed as a personal/ family matter even of public officials
refers to a picture one takes of oneself, usually posted on and personalities, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate
social media. toldABS-CBN.
Zarate said the bills definition of privacy intrusions was so
broad that even taking selfies, in which the images of other Even an innocuous selfie with public figures at the
persons may inadvertently be captured, would be background would be liable for intrusion of privacy. This is
penalized. absurd and we urge our colleagues to reconsider.
Media organizations, including the National Union of
Journalists of the Philippines and the Photojournalists The bill says the following acts are considered an intrusion
Center of the Philippines, strongly objected to the bill, of privacy.
saying it would infringe on freedom of the press.
That the proposed law seeks to punish even the fact that -capturing by a camera or sound recording instrument of
no visual image, sound recording or other physical any type of visual image, sound recording or other physical
impression of a person was actually sold for gain or profit, impression of the person
makes it even more insidious, NUJP chair Rowena Paraan
had said in a letter published in the Inquirer on Sept. 1. -trespassing on private property in order to capture any
She said the measure could end up stifling citizen type of visual image, sound recording or other physical
journalism and dissuade the public even from simply taking impression of any person
pictures or videos for personal pleasure.
PCP chair Mike Alquinto said journalists would be the -capturing any type of visual image, sound recording or
targets of the measure, noting the phrase intent to gain or other physical impression of a person or family activity
profit, as media outfits worked for profit. through the use of a visual or auditory enhancement device
There must be clear provisions that specify that news even when no physical trespass has occurred, when the
gathering must be exempt from this section, he had said in visual image, sound recording or other physical impression
an Aug. 27 statement. could not have been captured without a trespass if no
enhancement device was used.

Congressmen Rufus Rodriguez, Maximo Rodriguez, Jorge


Anti-Selfie Bill in Congress in the Philippines: What is Almonte, Gwendolyn Garcia, Linabelle Ruth Villarica, Lito
House Bill 4807 All About? Atienza, and Leopoldo Bataoil authored the bill.

By Zachary Stieber, Epoch Times | August 28, 2014 The critics of the bill are many and are attempting to fight
Last Updated: August 28, 2014 1:32 pm its passage.

It would seem that people from the media and journalists


The so-called Anti-Selfie Bill, or House Bill 4807, is in the can be targets of the proposed measure. Worthy of being
Philippines Congress right nowand causing outrage. emphasized is the phrase with intent to gain or profit
therefrom. In case a complaint is filed in court against a
The bill seeks to bar taking photos of people without their photojournalist, can lack of intent to gain be used as
permission, defining intrusion of personal privacy as any defense? said Jose Torres Jr., board member of the
person who willfully intrudes into the personal privacy of Photojournalists Center of the Philippines.
It must be clearly defined what can be classified for gain HB 04807 or the "Protection Against Personal Intrusion Act"
or profit. News outfits newspapers, magazines, punishes "any person who willfully intrudes into the
television, online publications, radio, and news wire personal privacy of another, without the consent of that
agencies are basically for profit organizations. There person and with intent to gain or profit therefrom (sic)."
must be clear provisions that specify that news gathering
must be exempted from this section. The bill specifies "intrusion into the personal privacy of
another" as consisting of the following acts:
Filipinos also took to Twitter to criticize the bill.
- Capturing with a camera or sound recording instrument
Anti-selfie bill my ass! ayusin niyo na muna ang anti- any type of visual image, sound recording, or other
corruption bill! #WakeUpPhilippineGovernment, said one. physical impression of the person;

Its things like the Anti-Selfie Bill that make Philippine - Trespassing on private property in order to capture any
politics one big joke, said another. type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical
impression of any person
Anti Selfie bill? Come on, is that all you can think of? said
yet another. - Capturing any type of visual image, sound recording . . .
of a personal or family activity through the use of a visual
Philippines "anti-selfie" bill could have chilling effect on or auditory enhancement device even when no physical
media, citizen journalism trespass has occurred, when the visual image, sound
recording . . . could not have been captured without
trespass if no enhancement device was used.
A bill to protect personal privacy passed second reading in
The House of Representatives on 12 August 2014. A The bill says these acts are automatically assumed to be
congressman and media groups say once it becomes law, "committed with intent to gain or profit."
House Bill 04807 will have negative effects on press
freedom and free expression. On 28 August, the Chairman of the Photojournalists' Center
of the Philippines (PCP), Mike Alquinto, said their
In a statement on 28 August, party-list representative organization had apprehensions over the passage of the
Carlos Isagani Zarate called the bill an "anti-selfie bill." bill.

Once an informal word, "selfie" was included in the Oxford "Provisions of the (proposed) law can be used to target
English Dictionary in November 2013 and is defined as "a enterprising journalists," Alquinto said. "There are
photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one exceptions to the right to privacy which . . . are not
taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a specified in this bill."
social media website."
In HB 04807, only "official law enforcement activities" are
"As it is, even an innocuous selfie with public figures exempted.
inadvertently caught (in) the background would be liable for
'intrusion of privacy'. This is absurd and we urge our The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
colleagues to reconsider," Zarate said. (NUJP), in a separate statement on 29 August, said the bill
is made "even more insidious" by the provision that "the
He warned that the bill would create a chilling effect on the fact that no visual image, sound recording or other physical
media, especially on citizen journalism. "It would punish impression of a person was actually sold for gain or profit,"
with civil action (those who will take) photos, a video or cannot be used as a defense.
even audio recording (of) anything claimed as a personal
or family matter, even of public officials and personalities." "The measure could end up stifling citizen journalism and
even simply taking pictures or videos for personal
pleasure," NUJP's statement said.
The bill is authored by representatives Rufus Rodriguez,
NUJP urged the authors of the bill to withdraw the measure Maximo Rodriguez, Jorge Almonte, Gwendolyn Garcia,
and for the House of Representatives to instead focus on Linabelle Ruth Villarica, Lito Atienza and Leopoldo Bataoil.
passing a Freedom of Information bill.