As stated in RA 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012) Chapter I/Section 2, the State recognizes the vital role of information and communications industries such as content production, telecommunications, broadcasting electronic commerce, and data processing, in the nation’s overall social and economic development.
The State also recognizes the importance of providing an environment conducive to the development, acceleration, and rational application and exploitation of information and communications technology (ICT) to attain free, easy, and intelligible access to exchange and/or delivery of information; and the need to protect and safeguard the integrity of computer, computer and communications systems, networks, and databases, and the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and data stored therein, from all forms of misuse, abuse, and illegal access by making punishable under the law such conduct or conducts.
In this light, the State shall adopt sufficient powers to effectively prevent and combat such offenses by facilitating their detection, investigation, and prosecution at both the domestic and international levels, and by providing arrangements for fast and reliable international cooperation. These past months, cybercrimes were apparently the center of interest of different media including newspapers, televisions, radio stations, and even blog sites. These include Cyber Bullying (including libel), Cyber Sex, Illegal Downloading of Unlicensed Software, Child Pornography, and Hacking of Official Sites of the Government.
Isn’t it true, that we are at the age of computers pack with connectivity and power of the Internet? That we are vested power and privileges to utilize Internet as our tool in communication, recreation, and freedom of expression? Yes! Let’s admit it; we are what we are now. Abuse and misuse of different social networking sites are said to be the stimulus of these Cyber Crimes, in what sense? Prior to the cases, the recently reported case of cybercrime was the suicidal of a 13-year old boy, who was found out to be bullied on Facebook by his friends.
Reporters have little details that could be used as evidences to go on trial. Another case was the Sex Video of an anonymous girl which was uploaded at YouTube which happed that authorities have nothing to do but to manually search the suspect who had recorded and uploaded the video. In addition, miscommunication and confusion were observed at the government sites particularly to the Official Gazette of the President of the Republic of the Philippines which was hacked by unidentified persons.
Moreover, downloading of software and other programs at different sites illegally was found to be in high volume based on statistics. Copyrighted sites and pages are much concern since these programs and applications are rendered by them with corresponding prices. In connection with those people who are legally acquiring various programs and applications, unequal practice of rights is badly inhibited against those who do it in contrast. The imprudence of these acts may lead to worldwide piracy of software, programs, and applications. Addressing the said phenomenon, the state had made the Republic Act No. 0175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 endorsed by the majority the Fifteenth Congress with the approval of the Senate and the signature of the President of the Republic of the Philippines. In which, this law prohibits the following punishable acts under RA 10175 Chapter II-Sec. 4, or the Cybercrime Offenses: Illegal Access, Illegal Interception, Data Interference, System Interference, Misuse of Devices, Cyber-squatting, Computer-related Forgery, Fraud, Identity Theft, Cybersex, Child Pornography, Libel and Other Offenses written under RA 10175 Chapter II-Section 5.
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 technologies shall be covered by the relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be (RA 10175 Chapter II-Sec. 6). Let us balance every angle of this Law amidst its weakness.
We are there, this law is very essential since it will harness the power of the different agencies of the government including National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police, Department of Justice and Department of Interior and Local Government in the prevention, mitigation, and suppression of Cybercrimes in promoting the welfare of the state and its people. Prior to RA 10175 Chapter VII Sec. 24, an inter-agency body to be known as the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), under the administrative supervision of the
Office of the President, for policy coordination among concerned agencies and for the formulation and enforcement of the national cyber security plan. This law will be a very potent tool for the authorities to trace information at the internet if a complaint arises and a trial will be needed for special cases such as these cybercrime offenses. Retrieved information will be deposited at the office of the CICC and will be marked as evidences prior to the court proceedings. This means, the government will now be equipped with power to consolidate the major offenses in the cyber world. Yet, many organizations cry for amendments over RA 10175.
For they stand in firm, this law is not the law that the state needed. Many unpolished corner of this law emancipated the tendency of a weak implementation and maintenance. First is, the Appropriations under Chapter VIII-Sec. 27 which states that the amount of Fifty million pesos (PhP50, 000,000. 00) shall be appropriated annually for the implementation of this Act. If this amount of the golden coins of the state is to be diverted in other projects including the infrastructures and education sector, then it would be more beneficial than to put them in a multi-dimensional world of the internet such a waste of time, money, and effort.
Second thing is the Feasibility. Experts visualized that this law is so ambitious. To hold the IP Address, Domain Name, and other details of a specific transaction with regards to the wide access of the internet is a very hard task since it deals not only in our country, but the whole world instead. Even there are organizations that will be spearheading the said law; it will be a hard time to get every little detail of transaction at the internet especially if the site to be subpoena has a powerful server and host.
A result, incompetence of the system of retrieval, custody, and investigation of the information will be obtained. And lastly, the issue on LIBEL is what people strongly cry amendments for. It is stated in RA 10175 Chapter II-Sec 4, that ), the unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future. It has its pros and cons.
Its pros, the suppression of a serious crime on the cyber world including social networking sites may be attained beneficial to those who experienced and still experiencing libel. In contrary, this means, you can no longer express your opinion prior to a person or an institution even it is right, true and valid if some words and ideas seems to be libelous. It is merely pronounced by users of Facebook accounts, columnist, digital newspapers, and most of all bloggers who themselves are critical thinkers and keen observers as a way of the government to proclaim a Martial Law in the cyber world.
Apparently, most bloggers use pages, sites, and other computer-related courses to promote the FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION and INFORMATION. As we traverse blog sites, most of them depict the true condition of a certain issue. To give its scope and delimitation, the government is the bull’s eye of these cries. Recently, a hospital nurse had post a negative view of the institution she works in on her account in Facebook. She was fired together with the other personnel who commented and liked the post by the administration.
How barbaric does a law like this will be promulgated just to preserve a good standing of something or someone? DEMOCRACY is killed! Isn’t it? For they wanted everybody to keep silent even something is going incorrectly. For whom are they depending on, the people! We, the people of this republic are the major holders of the state’s rights. Why don’t just those let us to show the real situation of today’s condition for them to base how they will govern us?
Moreover, how could a simple student, a campus journalist, a college girl, an observant clerk, a factory worker, a maid, a vendor near the hall, a beggar at the park, a street sweeper, and even a boy playing with his toy car could express their insights if this law knots their hands on their back, pins both feet on the ground, keep their eyes blinded with a black cloth secured with a glue, ears with earplugs, a mouth zipped with a metallic lock, and laser sensor that a simple move, fart, cough, or breath will result to imprisonment? Everyone will be aliens by themselves with the fear of the unknown.
RA 10175 truly promotes the welfare of the state’s people in terms of crimes involved in the cyber world. It really contributes to the nation’s needs specifically for those who are involved in cybercrimes and its wide power to consolidate information from the internet. But I think this law needs to be polished for functional implementation, and maintenance. The government should take consideration, for the different sectors of the state, variety of people, with different professions in the virtual implication of this law. It is right and just to take time for hearing the people’s cries,