Hackers protest anti-cybercrime law, deface government websites

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

MANILA -- Hackers who identified themselves as “Anonymous Philippines” hacked Wednesday night the websites of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) in protest of the newly signed anti-cybercrime law in the country.

The hackers said in a message posted on the two government websites that the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 “is the most notorious act ever witnessed in the cyber-history of the Philippines.”

The group said the law “effectively ends the Freedom of Expression” in the country.

“Anonymous Philippines” also stated that “the language of the bill is cunningly designed to make you think it only applies to individuals who are deep in cyber-technology and doesn't apply to everyone, but some part of the bill basically says it can imprison anyone who commits libel either by written messages, comments, blogs, or posts in sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other comment-spaces of other social media in the Internet.”

“New technologies give us new opportunities to connect with a lot of people not only in this country but all over the world. They can also provide us with a medium through which our political, public and even private views can have an immediate and direct impact on individuals, communities and even countries. It is just so disappointing that our government, in adopting our 80-year-old antiquated libel laws to the Cybercrime Law, again seems to have retarded our march with the rest of the world with respect to giving full force to the people's freedom of expression,” it added.

The group called for “a revision of the said bill for the betterment of the Filipino denizens.”

“Protect our Right to Freedom of Expression!” it stressed.

Among the groups that claimed to have defaced the BSP and MWSS websites were busabos, Anonymous Butuan, PrivateX, #pR.is0n3r, Lo0p th3 Lo0p, l4stl00k, Blackrain and Anonymous Manila.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act was signed last September 12. It was the second Information Communication Technology-related bill that the Aquino administration signed this year.

The first ICT-related measure that was signed into law by Aquino was the Data Privacy Act, which has provisions restricting access to information.

The Cybercrime Prevention Act, for its part, included in its provisions online libel, aside from other offenses such as cybersex, child pornography, cyber squatting and identity theft, spamming or unsolicited commercial communication, computer-related forgery, illegal access to a computer system and/or illegal interception of data, data interference including intentional alteration or damaging of data; system interference including damaging or altering computer data or programs as well as the use of viruses, the misuse of devices; and the use, production, sale, procurement, importation, distribution or making available without right of malware, passwords or codes.

Three petitions have so far been filed before the Supreme Court against the anti-cybercrime law. (Sunnex)

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