Philippines Outlaws Cybersex

from the oh,-and-criminalizes-libel-too dept

The EFF points us to the news of the Philippines signing into law the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which has a number of interesting and worrisome provisions. The EFF, quite rightly, focuses on the fact that it makes online libel a criminal rather than civil offense, which could lead to jail time. They note that this provision appears to violate the UN's Human Rights Council, which claims that criminal sanctions against libel are a problem. Also troubling: that section was added by one Senator, Vicente Sotto III, without any public hearing, after Sotto claimed "introducing Internet libel laws would make people more cautious online." Hello, chilling effects.

But what caught my eye, was a couple sections up from the libel part. It appears that Cybersex is now a crime in the Philippines too. In the section that lists out "content-related offense," number one on the list is:
Cybersex. -- The willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration.
That wording seems a bit awkward, but it certainly seems to suggest that even willing cybersex is now illegal if it's done "for favor or consideration." People in the Philippines are quite reasonably worried that the language here is quite broad. And what's the punishment? It seems a bit on the harsh side:
Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(1) of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least Two hundred thousand pesos (PhP200,000.00) but not exceeding One million pesos (PhPl,000,000.00) or both.
Prision mayor appears to mean at least six years in prison. 200,000 Philipine pesos is about $5,000. So... basically cybersex is a crime in the Philippines that could net you more than six years in jail... and fines of between $5,000 and $25,000.

That seems a bit... harsh.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ninja (profile), Sep 19th, 2012 @ 5:40am

    I'm having trouble here to decide what his motives were.

    I thought of a few:

    1- Reduce the number of abandoned e-kids as a result of unplanned e-parenthood.
    2- Promote and increase offline sexual activity (epic win!).
    3- Decrease and prevent further spreading of e-STD (commonly known as malware).

    I'm inclined to believe his original motives were noble and so he was thinking of all those e-children generated from cybersex all alone in the tubes!

     

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    Aaeru, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Insane......

    This is disgusting tyranny.

     

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Sep 19th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Huh???

    "For favor" seems pretty clear cut, but "for consideration" has me scratching my head. Who has sex "for consideration"?
    What does that even mean?

    It sounds to me like the politician who drafted this just found out that all hot girls on the internet are actually MEN.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 7:47am

      Re: Huh???

      "For consideration" in legal terms means money or stuff.

      Basically it means if you want to cyber with your girlfriend,it's not a crime, but if you want to have the online equivalent of phone sex on a 900 number, it is a crime.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 5:18pm

      Re: Huh???

      I don't have sex for consideration, but consider it quite often.

       

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    BentFranklin (profile), Sep 19th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    To do: Frame Vicente Sotto III for cybersex.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Actually, I think the title of this section is misleading. It's looks more like it's actually a ban on porn. Cam girls, in particular.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 7:51am

    no wonder so many Filipino woman will do whatever it takes to get the fuck out of that country!!

     

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      ChimpObama McBinLadenBurton, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 8:42am

      Re:

      No wonder so many Filipino women will fuck whatever it takes to get the do out of that country!

       

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Sep 19th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    The AC trolls will have to get new cyber mistresses.

     

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    Beta (profile), Sep 19th, 2012 @ 8:22am

    the oldest lobby

    I'm not sure how to put this delicately, but this looks like another attempt to stifle online innovation, made by a politician at the behest of the Philippine, uh, traditional, uh, legacy, um... analog industry.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 8:34am

    Easily explained

    The dominant religion in the Philippines is Roman Catholic...and remember - every sperm is sacred.

    (When a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate)

     

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    Deirdre (profile), Sep 19th, 2012 @ 8:37am

    The legal definition of consideration when discussing a contract or agreement does not necessarily mean hard cash or actual goods. Consideration is an item of value but it can be as vague and hard to quantify as "natural love and affection" owed from one person to another rather than explicit payment or even barter. Also it can be that one party agrees to undertake some act for the other person as consideration.

    This sounds like sloppy legal drafting.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Sep 19th, 2012 @ 8:41am

      Re:

      I don't think it's sloppy. It also include the term "for favor", which seems to aim specifically at the intangibles you describe. By my reading, the two terms have overlap and both were included so as to make the net as broad as possible.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if thousands of webcams suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 8:55am

    You have to understand that the Philippines is one of those places that is a capital of cybersex, girls working for a fairly low rate, but it is still much higher than the would get in any other job.

    The laws are being changed to bring them in line with other low wage countries in the area such as Thailand, which is a mecca for the porn business but where much of the activity is either purely illegal or blocked by zealous local police.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 9:49am

      Re:

      You mean to tell me those Creampie Thais videos are illegal?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 9:26pm

        Re: Re:

        Actually, yes. If they are filmed in Thailand (and appear to be) then yes, they are technically illegal under Thai law. Filming any pornography in Thailand is a big offense. Plenty of it happens, but that's a different story.

        The Philippines has been home to many in the porn industry looking for low wage slaves to build sites and spam their content all over the net. Now it looks like they will have to move again.

         

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    Greg G, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    No....

    .... that's not white-out on my screen.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 19th, 2012 @ 12:45pm

    Out of curiosity...

    Anyone know(or can find out), what the average punishment, both in jail time and fines are for manslaughter and/or murder in that country?

    I've got this nagging suspicion that once again an imaginary crime is being given a harsher punishment than an actual one.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 1:08pm

      Re: Out of curiosity...

      Next they are going to start prosecuting gamers for all the cyber-murders they commit day in and day out.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 5:08pm

    Stupid sex laws

    Sex between consenting unmarried adults is unlawful in some states in the U.S. even today.
    Backward laws regarding sex have existed though out history in lots of places.
    for instance, if cybersex was banned in Georgia, people couldn't have sex at all unless they were married!

    Banning cybersex is only going to cause more people to come together in person for their nefarious activities.

    But instead of ebabies there will be be real ones, causing a spike in world population which will result in a serious lack of resources that will cause the collapse of civilization as we know it.

    The humanity!

    Don't these people think these things through!

     

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    Mega1987 (profile), Sep 19th, 2012 @ 7:17pm

    You guys says that... Try living in the country where that guy lives?

    Pinoy here... T_T

    And yes... We're still a mess up here...

     

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    Dan, Sep 19th, 2012 @ 9:04pm

    Senator Vicente Sotto is a dick. In the 90s he tried to ban Magic:The Gathering for being "demonic". Now he wants to criminalize "online libel" cause he was caught by netizens for plagiarizing. Oh, and he believes "artificial contraception" is evil and kills unborn children.

     

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    RT Cunningham (profile), Sep 20th, 2012 @ 4:31am

    In the Philippines

    Rape carries a penalty of 40 years whereas murder is only 20. So, if you commit rape, you have to kill the victim.

    Silly laws written by silly people.

     

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    RT Cunningham (profile), Sep 20th, 2012 @ 5:06am

    On Review...

    After reviewing the bill itself, it seems to be written in good intent. Unfortunately, the wording is indeed way too broad.

     

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      not to smart, Oct 8th, 2012 @ 6:40pm

      Re: On Review...

      In the Philippines this is the only way a lot of these poeple may eat from day to day , this law which has been around for quite awhile now is helping the poor remain poor all for what seems to be a rather harmless activity , if the concern is over underage or child porn , making it leagal would probably make it easier to find those offenders

       

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    Mai Aydinan, Sep 25th, 2012 @ 3:38am

    A bit dissappointed this was how you decided to present it

    You guys didn't even mention the story of the moron politician who added libel in at the last minute, bypassing the normal discussion procedures. It's like we're so insignificant we only deserve a very short article with very little detail. I was expecting more of you guys.

     

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