MANILA, Philippines --- President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed into law Republic Act (RA) No. 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act that would strengthen the country's drive against cyber criminals.
President Aquino signed the new law on September 12, 2012, but was only made public yesterday.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the new law prohibits computer-related offenses such as forgery, fraud, and identity theft.
It likewise prohibits content-related offenses such as cybersex, child pornography, unsolicited commercial communication; cyber squatting, which is the acquisition of the domain name in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy the reputation and deprive others from registering the same; and online libel.
"The following acts shall constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under this act: offenses against the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of computer data system, illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference, misuse of devices," the new law read.
The Palace official said the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be tasked to head the Office of Cybercrime and will be the "central authority in all matters related to international mutual assistance and extradition."
There will likewise be an inter-agency body known as the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President (OP). The new law stated that the CICC should be created within 30 days from the effectivity of the new law.
Valte said the CICC will be headed by the Executive Director of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), which is under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will serve as chairperson while its vice chairperson will be the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Its members would include the head of the DOJ office of cybercrime and one representative from the private sector and academe.
The CICC shall be manned by a secretariat of selected existing personnel and representatives from the different participating agencies.
Last August, President Aquino approved the Data Privacy Act last August, while the public is waiting for the passage of another ICT-related bill, the creation of a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to further boost the government's campaign against cyber criminals.