'Hacktivists' deface Philippine govt websites over cyber law

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Several government websites, including that of the National Food Authority (NFA), were defaced early yesterday the "hacktivist" group Anonymous Philippines, drawing attention to the cybercrime law.

The hacking took place a day before the Supreme Court holds oral arguments on the CyberCrime Prevention Act of 2012, or Republic Act No. 10175, which Anonymous Philippines said threatened freedom of expression.

The law became controversial because it criminalises online libel, among other things, angering journalists who have been campaigning for the decriminalisation of libel.

Background: Cybercrime law: Yay or nay?

Shortly after President Aquino signed RA 10175 into law last September 12, the high tribunal suspended its implementation for four months until February after consolidating 15 petitions against it.

Early yesterday, Twitter users reported the hacking of the NFA website (nfa.gov.ph). The NFA, whose previous head is being linked to rice smuggling in the country, is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said in a phone interview early on Monday that while it was not known why the NFA website was targeted, those in charge of the website were tasked with restoring the system.

Related story: 'Bloody Monday': Hackers strike gov't websites anew

At 9:24am, Alcala said via text message that the website would be restored "soon". In about 30 minutes, the website was up and running again.

Also hacked were the websites of the National Maritime Polytechnic (nmp.gov.ph) and the municipality of Jose Panganiban (mambulao.gov.ph), formerly known as Mambulao, in Camarines Norte province.

#OccupyPhilippines

In an operation called "#OccupyPhilippines," Anonymous Philippines left hacked pages with messages beginning with, "Protect our Right to Freedom of Expression!"

The message was still on the home page of Jose Panganiban town but it had been taken out of the NMP website as of press time.

The Cebu Port Authority (cpa.gov.ph) website did not have the message on it but the site was disabled throughout yesterday.

The Anonymous Philippines' message read in part: "1987 Philippine Constitution. Article III, Section 4 states that 'NO LAW SHALL BE PASSED ABRIDGING the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.'"

Also read: Senators flip-flop on Cybercrime Law

The group also said: "What happened to the law? Are all laws meant to be broken? Are they made to fool people, deprive them of their rights in exchange for what we believe as 'Heavens for Politicians'? Some say we are against the law because it would hinder our 'criminal activities,' but WE do not oppose the said law in any way, if it is for the greater good."

Not the first time

It was not the first time the group defaced government websites to draw attention to the controversial law. A number of petitioners said this would make it easier for authorities to spy on and/or harass citizens, especially critics, using electronic media.

Many critics of the cybercrime law have also alleged that legislation may have stemmed from criticisms against lawmakers in social media, particularly at the height of the plagiarism charges against Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto.

In September last year, the websites of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Philippine Anti-Piracy Team and the Agusan del Sur website were hacked by Anonymous Philippines.

Those of the Official Gazette, Senate and National Bureau of Investigation were either defaced or suffered denial-of-service attacks.

Black screens


At the height of the outcry, many Facebook and Twitter users in the Philippines and the portals of some media organisations replaced their profile pictures with black screens in protest of the new law.

Related story: Pinoy netizens ‘go black’ on Facebook to protest Cybercrime Law

In October last year, the Supreme Court ordered that the implementation of the law be suspended until February 6 and set a January 15 hearing of petitioners' arguments. Fifteen petitions asked the high court to declare the law wholly or partially unconstitutional.

While the new law against cybercrime is suspended, authorities may deal with related cases using existing laws such as RA 8792 or the E-Commerce Act of 2000, RA 9995 or the Anti-Photo and Voyeurism Act of 2009, RA 9725 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, RA 8484 or the Access Device Regulation Act of 1998 and RA 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law.

A primer on cybercrimes committed in the country, which the Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier released, said nearly nine out of 10 Filipino Internet users have been victimised by "cybercrime" or malicious activity on the Internet.

The primer was prepared by the DOJ as part of its advocacy programme to prevent abuses in cyberspace as the legality of the new law against cybercrime is being deliberated in the Supreme Court.

In other news: Philippines up 10 notches in 'economic freedom' list


The law, according to petitioners, violates citizens' constitutional rights, including freedom of speech, right to privacy, protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, due process, equal protection and protection against double jeopardy.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will give those questioning the suspended Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 a chance to make their case heard.

Five lawyers are set to tackle certain provisions in the first oral arguments to be presided over by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno since her appointment as head of the judiciary last August.

It will be the turn of the solicitor general to argue for the law's continued implementation on January 22.

10 minutes each

Under the guidelines and advisory on how the oral arguments will be done, five petitioners/counsels are assigned to speak on specific issues. Each will have 10 minutes to make their presentations. The high court issued the guidelines last week.

Also read: Hope against hunger


Tuesday's speakers are University of the Philippines law professors Harry Roque and Jesus Disini Jr., Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, Philippine Bar Association legal counsel Rodel Cruz and National Union of People's Lawyers representative Julius Matibag.

Roque said he would ask the high court if it could allow Sen. Teofisto Guingona III to make an opening statement before the oral arguments.

Among the provisions to be tackled include that which criminalises online libel and the so-called take-down policy in the law that will allow the DOJ to block or restrict a website found to be violating the cybercrime law.

All speakers will be asked whether the provisions they will be discussing violate constitutional rights such as those on due process of law and freedom of expression.

"The rest of the issues raised by the various parties that are not covered by the oral arguments shall be heard on written memorandum by the petitioners concerned," the advisory said.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather
    Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather

    Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao is confident he can beat American arch-rival Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on Saturday with the power of God, after abandoning a life he said was packed with sin condemning him to hell. Pacquiao is in top form both in mind and spirit after he traded his boozing, gambling and womanising ways for a devout life of prayer, his spiritual adviser, Jeric Soriano, told AFP in a recent Manila interview. Except the world got to him," Soriano said of Pacquiao's …

  • Profiles of foreigners due to be executed in Indonesia
    Profiles of foreigners due to be executed in Indonesia

    Eight foreign drug convicts are set to be executed in Indonesia after losing all appeals for clemency. Here are brief profiles of the inmates, who include two from Australia, one each from Brazil and the Philippines, and four from Africa. Myuran Sukumaran A ringleader of the Bali Nine drugs smuggling syndicate, Sukumaran was born in London in 1981 and moved with his Sri Lankan family to Australia when he was a child. Enticed by the prospect of easy money, in 2005 he helped to organise a …

  • Indonesia says will not delay execution of Filipina convict
    Indonesia says will not delay execution of Filipina convict

    JAKARTA (Reuters) - The execution of a Filipina drug convict by an Indonesian firing squad will not be delayed despite last-minute appeals by the Philippine government, the attorney general said on Tuesday. Indonesian President Joko Widodo earlier met with a migrant workers' group to discuss the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who is one of nine people set to be executed within hours. (Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco in MANLIA and Gayatri Suroyo in JAKARTA; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) …

  • Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone
    Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone

    By Kanupriya Kapoor CILACAP, Indonesia (Reuters) - Nine drug traffickers held emotional farewell meetings with their families at an Indonesian prison on Tuesday, after Jakarta rejected last-ditch pleas from around the world for clemency and ordered their mass execution to proceed within hours. "I won't see him again," said Raji Sukumaran, the mother of an Australian who will go before a firing squad along with a fellow countryman and convicts from Nigeria, Brazil, the Philippines and …

  • Aquino appeals to Indonesia one more time to keep Filipina alive
    Aquino appeals to Indonesia one more time to keep Filipina alive

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he made one last appeal to the Indonesian government to spare a Filipina among nine prisoners set to be executed for drug trafficking on Tuesday as she could be a vital witness in prosecuting drug syndicates. It was Aquino's third personal appeal, after the Indonesian attorney general rejected the Philippines' request on Monday for a second judicial review of the case of Mary Jane Veloso, who her lawyers say merely served as an unknowing mule to drug …

  • Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000
    Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000

    Are you hunting for an affordable motorcycle which you can use for personal use or a family service vehicle? Carmudi PH presents to you some of the cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines today. These budget friendly motorbikes will surely not hurt your pockets, and you may even buy them on the spot instead of monthly […] The post Cheapest motorcycles in the Philippines under PhP 40,000 appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • Indonesia gears up for executions as families wail in grief
    Indonesia gears up for executions as families wail in grief

    Indonesia made final preparations Tuesday to execute eight foreigners by firing squad, as family members wailed in grief during last visits to their loved ones and ambulances carrying white coffins arrived at the drug convicts' prison. Relatives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the Australian ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" heroin trafficking group, arrived at Nusakambangan prison calling for mercy for their loved ones, with Sukumaran's sister collapsing in grief. They are among …

  • Labor Day heat index may heat feverish levels

    Temperatures could soar on Labor Day this Friday, with the "init factor" reaching the 40°C level in some areas of the country. Labor Day is a holiday in the Philippines, though many Filipinos are expected to go out to the streets to call for better working conditions. The so-called "init factor" or "heat index" gives the apparent temperature, taking into account the actual air temperature as well as other factors such as humidity. State weather agency PAGASA's Tuesday heat index indicated …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options