PHL could have cybercrime law by 2012

The way the cybercrime bills filed in both houses of Congress is moving, the Philippines may finally have its own cybercrime law in the next 12 months, an IT law expert said Thursday.

Lawyer Jose Jesus Disini of the UP College of Law shared during the launch of Norton's Cybercrime Report 2011 that the cybercrime bills filed in Congress are moving at a quick pace.

"The Senate version has already passed second reading in [the upper house]. Within the next 12 months, we'll probably see a cybercrime bill signed into law," Disini said.

Having a cybercrime law is essential to the country right now since the 11-year-old E-Commerce Act of the Philippines, while future-looking, doesn't address cybercrime threats which have evolved throughout the years, Disini said.

In fact, the Norton Cybercrime Report launched Thursday noted that cybercrime is becoming one of the top crimes worldwide in terms of financial repercussions, costing victims a total of $388 billion over the past year, higher than the illegal trade in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined, which only amounts to $288 billion.

The same report revealed that cybercrime victimizes an average of 1 million people a day, or about 14 victims every second.

Cybercrime acts could range from the simple spreading of malware over the Internet to using stolen personal information for financial gain, Norton said.

In a text message to GMA News Online, Senator Edgardo Angara, author of the Senate version of the bill, said the passage of the law is "highly probable."

"The big hurdle in the Senate is time, because of the budget debate which takes priority [for now]," he said.

Keeping pace with the times

Disini, however, noted that at the time of its passage, the E-Commerce Act was one of the most advanced IT-related legislation in the world.

In fact, one of the acts penalized under the Act include interference with computer systems, which involved distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks, which have only gained worldwide prominence recently.

Still, many sections of the law have ceased being relevant. "It's been more than 10 years, but this law has never been touched again. There have been many efforts, but it has never been a priority of the government, apparently," Disini stressed.

In particular, Disini pointed out that the existing E-Commerce act is considered mala prohibita, or a classification of crime which is considered wrong because it is prohibited by law.

If a crime is considered mala prohibita, according to Disini, those who spread malware through email even without their knowledge is still liable because it is punishable by the law.

In contrast, a law classified as mala in se looks at the intent of the act committed—whether it is deliberate or incidental—before considering it as a crime.

Disini said the law should be amended so that it can be classified as the latter, since many malware spreading over the Internet today are unwittingly passed by users and often take lives of their own.

Unskilled prosecutors

The presence of the law notwithstanding, the IT law expert likewise lamented the poor prosecution record of IT-related crimes in the past years.

Among the handful of convictions secured by government prosecutors over the years, Disini said the model they used do not necessarily prove their skill sets.

"The model by which they could get conviction is that they confront the accused with the evidence that they have, and the accused will typically plead guilty to just one instance of the crime to avoid jail time," he said.

These means most of cybercrime cases in the country have not prospered into full-blown trials, where electronic evidence could be presented by the prosecutors.

Despite this, Disini said that there is reason for hope in the recent establsihment of a cybercrime office under the Department of Justice, which seeks to centralize cybercrime efforts of the government. — TJD, GMA News


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.

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. She was responding to questions raised by former senior police officer and now Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

  • ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’
    ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’

    Conflict in the South China Sea can affect economic growth and stability in Southeast Asia, New Zealand warned yesterday, amid China’s aggressive reclamation activities in disputed waters. New Zealand is marking its 40 th year of diplomatic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and hopes to intensify trade and other linkages with the 10-member grouping. ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping territorial claims with China over the Spratly …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options