Legal Issues

by Glyn Moody

Filed Under:
cybercrime, philippines

Philippine Government Ignores Public Concerns, Continues To Push Extreme 'Cybercrime' Law

from the not-listening dept

One of the striking -- and depressing -- features of the Internet today is the almost universal desire of governments around the world to rein it in through new laws. We wrote about one such attempt in the Philippines a couple of months ago, where the government is trying to bring in some particularly wide-ranging and troubling legislation. Although the Philippine Supreme Court put a temporary restraining order on the law, the Philippine government is not softening its stance, and has asked the court to lift the order. Its arguments are pretty worrying:

"there is always a presumption of validity that attaches to every legislative act"
Oh, really?
It also said the law only "regulates and penalizes" acts defined as cybercrimes like hacking, and does not prevent the petitioners from using the Internet and expressing their thoughts.
Well, that rather depends on how you define cybercrimes, of course.
The government said "traffic data" referred to in the Cybercrime Law is "non-content data" that consists of the origin, destination, route, time and date of the communication. It said that unlike content data, which is considered private, traffic data is an "auxiliary to the communication and is necessarily shared with a service provider who is a third party."
That is exactly the same erroneous argument used by the UK government to justify its Snooper's Charter. The problem is that some traffic data -- like destination Web addresses -- give considerable information about the content being viewed. For example, if people are visiting Web sites that are critical of the Philippine government, it's pretty clear what they are reading about.

The GMA News piece quoted above lists many other dubious arguments given by the Philippine government in favor of lifting the ban. Ironically, the way it dismisses or ignores the important issues raised by petitioners to the Supreme Court only serves to confirm the impression that the government is not really interested in achieving a fair and balanced solution here, but intends to push through its plans regardless.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Jay (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    Why is journalism the first target?

    It never fails. Government officials want to hide their own wrong doings so they suppress the people. The first ones targeted are the ones reporting about wrong doing. Once the journalists are gone, then you work to suppress the public.

    The very clear message we get is that democracy is destroyed when the public is not informed of the actions of government.

    And for what? Are the benefits of suppressing discussion really worth leaving a nation ignorant of their culture and different ideas and arguments that the people want?

    Is democracy so evil that we need a government to suppress it?

    So disappointed that the public can't have nice things...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    jameshogg (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    Just what exactly has the internet done to deserve these kinds of beatings?

    ...oh yeah... provide freedom of communication.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 1:43pm

    Is this the law that made cybersex illegal? I have never heard anything more stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    Politics has similarities with religion, they are both based on belief systems. Both sets of practitioners have limited tolerance for competing ideas, and so wish to control information and so force other people into their belief system. To any politician with strong political beliefs, democracy is like the reformation was to the catholic church, it reduces their power by providing competing beliefs.
    The Internet is a powerful enabler of democracy, and so must be controlled to prevent it destroying the beliefs and powers of current politicians. The more repressive a regime, the more dangerous the Internet is to them, so actions like this should not be surprising. Trying to get the politicians to back off is like trying to convince a pope that calvin was right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 2:03pm


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 2:21pm

    just about every government, worldwide, have the same lack of concern for anything or anyone other than what they want to achieve, ie, control of what people can do both on and off the net (the fear being that any and all wrong doings by governments and big businesses can instantly be transmitted to everywhere) and the ability of watching everyone every minute. basically, the peoples right to privacy and freedom is almost back to the days before emancipation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re:

    Bloody hell, remind me to never go there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 2:30pm


    "'there is always a presumption of validity that attaches to every legislative act'

    Oh, really?"

    YES, really. Courts are not supposed to substitute their judgements for that of the duly elected lawmakers. Laws should not be overturned by courts unless they are clearly unconstitutional. It worries ME that YOU think this is worrying.

    Think of it like the presumption of innocence in a criminal case. The presumption doesn't mean that criminals can't be convicted. It just means that the case has to be proven first.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 2:31pm

    Should move the nulk of the internet out to space or international waters and declare it a sovereign nation so the world stops trying to wrestle absolute control over it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 2:31pm


    Correcting a typo: the 'bulk'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Mega1987 (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 6:36pm


    Damn you and your dumbass allies, Sotto.

    I won't vote for you and your allies in this coming 2013 election.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2012 @ 1:05am

    John Fenderson

    Can you control this "Govt", Mr. " if we had to choose between those two Bigs (and I don't think we do), then I choose Big Government. It's easier to fix the government (who is us) than major corporations (whose behavior we have little to no say in.)…"??? (Article above is the tip of the iceberg)
    Quote reference: John Fenderson "It's easier to fix the government…" ranting-utility-patents.shtml?threaded=true#c404

    You are lost in a world of delusion John Fenderson...only GOVT can ISSUE FU laws!!
    Not Apple, Not Samsung, Not any Corp on the earth. Only Govts FU what COULD be good.
    Only stupid Govt pukes issue Patents that cause harm: Here We Go Again: Apple's Pinch-To-Zoom Patent Rejected On Re-Exam -patent-rejected-re-exam.shtml

    List of the "supposed" Good Guys that you say are "easier" to control than Corporations:

    The list is endless, filled with moronic GOVT pukes that FU things that don't need to any interference.

    John Fenderson, you are truly you even read this Blog?? Filled with example after example of BIG GOVT fucking everything up???

    EX: LEAKED: White House's Bogus Talking Points On Why Senate Should Trample The 4th Amendment enate-should-trample-4th-amendment.shtml
    Apparently, Congress Isn't Actually Interested In Requiring

    A Warrant For Law Enforcement To Read Your Email ested-requiring-warrant-law-enforcement-to-read-your-email.shtml

    EPIC Sues CIA For Release Of Documents Concerning Domestic Spying It Swears's Not Doing estic-spying-it-swears-its-not-doing.shtml

    European Union's Data Retention Law Could Breach Citizens' Fundamental Rights ld-breach-citizens-fundamental-rights.shtml

    Senate Finally Holds Weak 'Debate' On FISA Amendments Act... But Terrorism! isa-amendments-act-terrorrism.shtml

    Classic Function Creep As EU Police May Gain Access To Asylum Seekers Fingerprint Database may-gain-access-to-asylum-seekers-fingerprint-database.shtml

    DOJ Taking Down Sites For Infringement... While Infringing Content Is Available Via Its Own Network ile-infringing-content-is-available-via-its-own-network.shtml

    Senate Rejects Final FISA Amendment, Lets Spying Program Stay Shrouded In Secrecy ets-spying-program-stay-shrouded-secrecy.shtml

    John Fenderson is lost in BIG Govt lust…and should be treated as "The Notorious B.I.G. Govt Troll" he is…going “post”al on me won’t help…you’re spent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Tex Arcana (profile), Dec 29th, 2012 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re:

    Criminey, that means I'll have to get me a "ten-dorral whore"..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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