MANILA, OCTOBER 1, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Allan Nawal, Germelina Lacorte Inquirer Mindanao - DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Before you shoot off that text message to anyone, make sure it is not derogatory.

This, in essence, was the warning of Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño when he said that the cybercrime law, or Republic Act 10175, not only curtails the right of Internet users but also of cellphone users.

“Because it covers text messages and calls as well,” Casiño said in a statement e-mailed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The militant lawmaker said section 3c of the cybercrime law covers any medium of ICT media, including voice, video, and other forms of data.

Section 3d, he added, defines computers and computer system as “any type of computer device, including devices with data processing capabilities like mobile phones, smartphones, computer networks and other devices connected to the Internet.”

“This practically means that communications and data on any type of phone or ICT device are covered by this very repressive law,” Casiño said.

He said candidates who might try to put down an opponent via text messages, could find themselves in trouble.

“This means if I text my friends that a certain candidate is a ‘cheap, second-rate, trying-hard copycat,’ that person can haul me to court for violating the cybercrime law and have me locked up for 10 years,” Casiño said.

He said that while the case may not prosper, “the mere possibility that one can be charged for online libel is enough to silence ordinary people and stop them from expressing critical ideas.”

ICT industry players in Davao City could not agree more.

Samuel Matunog, vice president of the Davao ICT Inc., said the law can also potentially kill the bullish ICT sector.

Matunog said Section 19 of the cybercrime law, which allows the Department of Justice to shut down or block access to a computer data, if found to be violating the act, can potentially bring millions of damage to the industry.

“What if malicious pranksters will just lodge unfounded complaints? Before we know it, our computers are already blocked,” Matunog said.

He said that instead of trying to kill the industry, lawmakers should have passed a law that would help it grow more.

“We are the world’s number one texting capital, and the world’s fastest-growing site for BPOs, we need laws that will encourage creativity among the young,” Matunog said.

Hackers of gov’t websites known – De Lima By Tetch Torres 3:03 pm | Monday, October 8th, 2012 

MANILA, Philippines—The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has already pinpointed personalities involved in defacing government websites, said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (photo at right) Monday.

“As of last week, some personalities were identified. Is it just for fun…or were they wittingly violating the law? Those who are involved in hacking will be pinned down. Is this a loose group or loosely formed group…?” De Lima told reporters Monday.

Hacktivists have been defacing government websites in protest of President Benigno Aquino III’s approval of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Some of the government websites defaced include the Official Gazette under the Office of the President, Senate and Congress’ website, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, among others.

Palace appeals to hackers to cease attacks By TJ Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer 7:31 am | Sunday, October 7th, 2012

[PHOTO -President Benigno Aquino’s spokeswoman Abigail Valte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO]

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Saturday appealed to hackers protesting the controversial cybercrime law to stop their attacks on government websites, particularly those agencies that provide disaster data and advice online to the public.

“I don’t want to say it but let us please put our opposition in the right place because there’s a sober way of discussing this,” Undersecretary Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, said over government radio dzRB.

Valte said netizens should find a peaceful means to protest the Cybercrime Prevention Act instead of resorting to cyberattacks.

The new law has sparked a storm of protests from critics who say it will severely curb Internet freedoms and intimidate netizens into self-censorship.

Weeks after Republic Act No. 10175 was signed into law on Sept. 12, the government continued to reel from the hacking of websites of several agencies, jeopardizing otherwise crucial online services.

Among those hacked were the websites and social media accounts of the weather bureau, the earthquake and tsunami monitoring service and the social welfare agency.

Valte did not disclose the extent of the damage.

“Many people are being affected by this,” she said.

“We are aware of the opposition to the Cybercrime Prevention Act. There are other ways to express opposition to it,” she said.

One of the law’s most controversial provisions mandates much longer jail sentences for people who post defamatory comments online than those who commit libel in traditional media.

It also allows the government to monitor online activities, such as e-mail, video chats and instant messaging without a warrant, and to close down websites it deems to be involved in criminal activities.

The Supreme Court is hearing petitions to have the law declared illegal. With an AFP report

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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