Cybercrime Prevention Act – How Will It Affect You?
October 3, 2012 by cd
Cybercrime Prevention Act: It has been implemented today according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima (since the Supreme Court deferred on acting on the petitions yesterday) but how will it affect the ordinary Juan?
Republic Act No. 10175 or The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was conceptualized primarily to address legal issues concerning online interactions. Among the cybercrime offenses included in the bill are cybersquatting, cybersex, child pornography, identity theft, illegal access to data and libel.
The latter, a provision on criminalizing libel via online means, is the one drawing flak among netizens. It is deemed by many as the worst assault on freedom of expression since Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law exactly 40 years ago.
It’s as simple as this: If you are one of the 30 million Filipinos who uses Facebook and/or Twitter, then you will be affected by this law.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, one of the lawmakers who voted against the passage of this law, explains the flaw in the libel provision:
“If you click ‘like,’ you can be sued, and if you share, you can also be sued. Even Mark Zuckerberg can be charged with cyber-libel,” the senator said.
For example, you’re watching a popular reality talent search on TV and you posted “Uma-Aira” as a joke or a comment on someone who “acts like the person named Aira,” it means you’re using somebody’s name as a verb, then you can be charged of libel by your subject. And even those who clicked “Like” on your comment (or those who retweeted it) can be charged, too!
The said provision on libel is so vague, according to Guingona, that you don’t even know who should be liable for a given statement online.
And if you’re found guilty, you may get a penalty of up to 12 years in prison.
On the other hand, Sen. Vincente Sotto III, the subject of the popular online expression “sumo-Sotto,” stands by the libel provision.
“Yes, I did it. I inserted the provision on libel. Because I believe in it and I don’t think there’s any additional harm,” he said.
FYI, here are the senators responsible for turning the Cybercrime Prevention Act into a law:
Sen. Tito Sotto
Sen. Bong Revilla
Sen. Manny Villar
Sen. Lito Lapid
Sen. Koko Pimentel
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada
Sen. Loren Legarda
Sen. Chiz Escudero
Sen. Ping Lacson
Sen. Gringo Honasan
Sen. Pia Cayetano
Sen. Bongbong Marcos
Sen. Ralph Recto
Now that you know how this so called “cyber martial law” can affect your daily routine, you may want to think twice or re-read the post or tweet before your fingers get itchy to click “Like” or “Retweet.”
Images: “FB Like” courtesy of Facebook, Retweet button courtesy of Blogworld.com