Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Scoffing against Anti-Cybercrime Law

“If journalists are duty-bound to heed libel law, why not others who also exercise freedom of expression?”
-- Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon Party-List)

Netizens from all over the Philippine cyber world have been shaken by devastating news about Republic Act (RA) 10175 or The Cybercrime Prevention Act, recently signed by President Aquino, without the general public being informed about its mere existence. We’ve seen the news, we’ve read the outraged tweets and facebook posts, and we’ve heard the uproar of various blogger and media groups as they file for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the implementation. But just how would even an innocent internet user could end up suffering from 12 years jail time by simply posting a social rant? 

Okay, so this RA aims to eradicate specifically pornography, website hacking, spamming, to even stealing somebody’s identity which have all been rampant on the internet probably dating back to the 90’s. Ideally, it presents a safer and more blissful browsing experience for Filipinos, but we all know the drill, our social lives are not becoming a fairy tale with a happy ever after ending, not even close to it. The Philippine Police and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have both admitted their incapacity to control such crimes from occurring, and this particular bill gives them the go to gather up data from user accounts in Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, up to the point of eavesdropping on your Skype for them to collect video and voice calls without the compelling need of a warrant. A clear VIOLATION of PRIVACY. On the Official Gazette, I was alarmed on the gravity of punishment that this law intends to impose on all violators, and topping my list of disappointments is the vagueness of online-libel and it's unremarkable definition. Where have all the due processes, the rights to expression and equal opportunities to private communication gone? I am giving my tacit approval to the Filipino blogging community on its battle to cease this newly signed prevaricating act. 

Never have I been a victim of cyber bullying nor any crime associated with the abuse of internet so it wouldn't be fair enough to purposely start a personal rage against the government just because majority of the Filipinos do and obviously because I’m a blogger. I just refuse to be shackled by a law that prevents me from writing what I think and what I believe is RIGHT. Freedom has been a historical issue for this nation, from the ruthless hands of invaders during the world war up until the downfall of a dictatorial leader in the 80’s. Our forefathers have sacrificed an entire lifetime for us to walk the earth with a sense of liberty and independence. Never have we foreseen that as the world evolves to be technically advanced, our country will be left behind because of our lawmakers who fear of being crucified publicly once they commit something against people’s approval.

For the lawmakers to nibble on:

1. Violators : Jail Spaces – Not unless the government sets aside additional sum of budget for constructing additional prison cells, there is no way that the existing city jails could accommodate me and very likely a million more hard-headed citizens that will deliberately continue to practice what we know is a fundamental privilege to manifest our opinions.

2. Scarcity of FREEDOM – As this law is targeted on averting and limiting libelous statements and acts, it subsequently deters people from enjoying unrestricted ability to set forth their belief which is completely a contrary to the essence of DEMOCRACY.

Perhaps I could be prosecuted after posting this blog, and I could definitely be imprisoned for sharing my point of view and vehement stand against this law. But never again call it FREEDOM of EXPRESSION if the government will continue to display it’s blindness on what this unconstitutional bill represents. If the President and other respectable politicians we have elected and entrusted our nation’s fate with truly recognize the vitality of communication sector, then they should abolish this ambiguous product of their undertaking that will produce a passive population. 

As I fearlessly voice out my disapproval on Anti-Cybercrime law, I also convey my decisive condemnation on any form of cyber crime especially those that involves exploitation of children and hacking. The animosity is that these two is being separated by a line on the sand which will take a lot of effort, time and wisdom to distinctly outline.   Only a revision of the Anti-Cybercrime Law could silence the din that has eaten up the nation the past days. 

Channel News Asia, GMA News Online, Official Gazette

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