Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Let's Talk Anti-CyberCrime Law

As I’m sure most of you all know that the Anti-Cyber Crime Law is in full swing starting today. I usually don’t care about things unless if it will cost me my dear life. So if it is not about me, I could sit around all day and not have to worry about any thing. But in very, very brief terms, I'm going to tell you, my fellow bloggers, why you should be fight tooth and nail to get this act revised, modified, amended or repealed.

The full name of the law is the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. As a normal citizen, I’m all about Copyrights. Claiming one’s material you do not own is next to theft and robbery. So hackers in a way, are close cousins of thieves and stealers. As bloggers, I know that we bust our heads to create the stories that we write and will unleash holy hell on anyone who steals them. And I also know that it’s difficult to think that with millions of file sharing sites there are, that we would actually “waste” money to buy, for example, a music album. Why do it if we can get it so easily? However shame on me if I tell the whole world I love Regine Velasquez but cannot shell out five hundred pesos to support her to make music that I love.

I am for one appreciates the backbone of the anti cyber-crime principles. They are up against:
  • child pornography
  • computer-related fraud
  • identity theft
  • computer-related forgery

The question is: Is the whole thing a good thing?

The Anti-Cybercrime Law may have been crafted with the best of intentions, but the final version of the bill poses nothing less than a most serious threat to our freedom of speech.

What it does is expand the coverage of libel.

Imagine a young man who has just turned 18. He is now legally an adult. In a fit of anger, he blasts his neighbor in his Facebook page, or in his Tweeter and calling that person all sorts of names. Under the anti-cybercrime law, he can be imprisoned and may not be released until his 30th birthday.

Ridiculous perhaps, but it’s the law.

I am speaking as a mother – one who is concerned not just for her children but for all the other young kids out there who spend so much of their free time on the internet and are unaware that they are covered by some repressive provisions of this law.

Let’s look at some possible scenarios:

    Scenario 1: An allegedly libelous status is posted on Facebook. Your child ‘likes’ the post. The offended party can claim that by ‘liking’, your child seconded or gave approval to the libelous post.
    Scenario 2: An allegedly libelous status is reposted/shared/retweeted by your child. That may be considered, under this law, to be republication or re-publishing, and your child can be held liable.
    Scenario 3: In an impulsive, angry moment, your child could post something online against a classmate or friend. The angry parents of the offended child cry ‘Libel’ and bring a case against your child. Your child is faced with possible jailtime.

What should be done instead?

Well, first of all, there are several other acts that are already in place to protect copywritten materials.

Art. 353 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines defines libel as follows: “a public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead”.

The thing with libel is that it isn’t whether what you said or wrote was true or not. Truth is NOT a defense. Something is libelous if MALICIOUS INTENT is shown. With all the slipups, defects, blunders our present law against libelous act, would we want to make our lives harder by adding the Anti-CyberCrime Law? This law is so loosely constructed that any person including any site with any kind of copywritten material on it could be shut down as a violation. And kids, in their lack of knowledge, can also be incriminated.

As one blogger said, the social media is so intertwined in our children’s lives but it can be misused and abused. But shouldn’t this be addressed differently? After all, if no one bothers to teach the youth proper social behavior online, how can we fault them for crossing the line from non-libelous to libelous?

As a mother of 8 year old boy who is active on Facebook, who clicks and likes and shares and plays anything that caught his attention, I can limit his use of computer. But he can always go to his cousins anytime and watch actual normal child birth via You Tube.

The thing is, we really can’t stop the changing times. And I believe that our children are this country’s future. And the way to make them future leaders is to shape and form them in body, mind and spirit and that includes their online lives. As parents, we should take conscious effort to help them realized that no one should be maligned, bullied, disrespected, stolen with, gossiped, or insulted in any manner. That they should always be responsible for their actions, with or without the Anti-CyberCrime law.


  1. Ah, you have raised some very interesting points here so I'm going to have to really think of my stand in regards to this anti-cyber crime law.

    Most of my thoughts were about the bullying, especially trolls but I really need to do some homework on this. Thanks for your scenarios and relevant information here.

  2. Here in the US there have already been several cases where social media were used to bully children who eventually committed suicide. These have gone to court but can't remember which ones have gotten verdicts already. I would hope that a balance can be found between making such persons (cyberbullies for example) legally/criminally liable for their actions while at the same time making sure not to take away from our freedom of speech.

  3. This is an awakening post....thanks for sharing. Thanks also for dropping by and for the nice comment:)

  4. Tama, We should be responsible for our actions with or without the cyber-crime law. Medyo minadali lang kasi ang batas na dapat repasohin, pag-aralan. Naniniwala naman ako na may magandang intesyon kung bakit gusto nilang ma-implement agad ito pero kailangan ng masusing pag-aaral.

  5. but this has so many advantages sa online its just putting parameters on it .. yun nga lang it was not properly studied