Cybercrime law or eMartial Law?

Recently, the Senate have approved of this Cybercrime law and I have heard and read many reactions of different people already.

Some would say that this law is like a Martial Law in cyberspace and is against the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression.

But what does the anti-cybercrime law mean for the ordinary Filipino netizens?

The law categorizes cyber crimes into three:

(1) offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems;

(2) computer-related; or

(3) content-related offenses.

Illegal access to computer systems, illegal interception of data, data or system interference, as well as misuse or computer systems or data belong in the first category.

cyber-Squatting which involves the acquisition of a domain name “in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputation, and deprive others from registering the same.”

In businesses, these may include the use of a domain name “similar, identical, or confusingly similar” to registered trademarks.

The law also covers the use of personal names “identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the registrant.”

**Computer-related offenses

– input, alteration or deletion of any computer data with the intent of forgery, fraud or identity theft.

Cyber-sex –  defined under the law as the willful engagement in online sexual activities, is included in content-related offenses.

Child pornography is another content-related offense in the law.

– The anti-cybercrime act notes that punishment to child pornography committed through a computer system will be one degree higher than the sanctions in the Anti-Child Pornography Act.

Sending of unsolicited communication which advertise or sell products or services is also named a content-related offense.

Firms may only send electronic messages if recipients who grant prior consent or to existing subscribers or customers for service announcements.

The messages should allow recipients to “opt out”. The source and intention of the message should also not be disguised.

Online statements against the reputation of an individual or an entity may give rise to libel suits, as if they were published or broadcast.

Among the crimes enumerated in the law, the provision on libel is most hit.

**Media watchdog Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility said the inclusion of libel as an act punishable by imprisonment goes against a long-standing UN principle of decriminalizing libel.

“Libel as a criminal offense has been used by past administrations as well as local officials today to harass and intimidate journalists,” it noted.


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