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.

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  1. identicon
    Greg G, 19 Sep 2012 @ 9:09am


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

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